TOKYO - Japan's industry ministry said on Tuesday it has approved subsidies worth up to 590 billion yen ($3.9 billion) for chip foundry venture Rapidus as Tokyo pushes forward with plans to rebuild the country's chip manufacturing base.

Japan previously agreed to provide subsidies worth some 330 billion yen to Rapidus. The newly approved aid includes 53.5 billion yen for advanced packaging, which is becoming increasingly important for driving chip performance improvement.

Rapidus is headed by industry veterans and is targeting mass production of cutting-edge chips on the northern island of Hokkaido from 2027 in partnership with IBM and Belgium-based research organisation Imec.

Countries around the world are looking to strengthen their control over chip supply chains after global shocks including the COVID-19 pandemic and trade tensions between the United States and China.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), the world's largest contract chipmaker, has spent decades honing its processes, and many in the industry are therefore sceptical about the prospects for success by Rapidus.

($1 = 151.5600 yen)

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Michael Perry and Jamie Freed)