Japan will join the race for the development of floating wind turbines for use in the sea off the Pacific coast, which was hit by a tsunami, while reconsidering its energy sources after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

The country is trying to beat the wind industry leaders in Europe, said on Tuesday Masanori Sato, a trade ministry official. “To take the lead in offshore wind energy, we want to conduct studies and developments and that domestic wind turbine manufacturers boost their capabilities,” said Sato.

“From the standpoint of supporting the reconstruction and promotion of wind energy, we must promote research and development of offshore wind turbines is good,” he said.

In the next five years, Japan plans to spend between 10,000 and 20,000 million yen (between 96 and 192 million euros) to install six or more wind turbines floating on the sea, northeast of the coast. Work with firms including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries, said Sato.

Globally, Norway is a leader in floating wind turbines with a pilot project in 2009, while other countries, including Britain and Portugal, have studied the technology.

Japan is preparing a third emergency budget that could be more than 10 trillion yen to rebuild its northeast coast after the earthquake and tsunami of March, which left 20,000 dead or missing and triggered the worst nuclear crisis in the world in 25 years in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Last month, the parliament passed a law to promote investment in renewable energy.

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