Japan's government, high-tech firms and universities will team up to develop their own Internet search technology, an official said, amid soaring profits for US giant Google.
A study group will meet this month with participation from more than 20 companies and universities, said the information policy official at the trade ministry.
The companies will include leading electronics firms Matsushita Electric Industrial, Hitachi, NEC and Fujitsu as well as telecom carrier Nippon Telegraph and Telephone and public broadcaster NHK, he said.
"Information searches have become a source of wealth," he said. "We want to consider what Japanese companies can do in the current situation where overseas forces are dominant."
"Japanese companies should have competitive power," said the official who declined to be named.
The group aims to decide on outlines of the project by around July next year, he said.
The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Japan's concerted effort was aimed at competing with Google.
The project will stretch over a few years from the fiscal year starting in April 2007 with a total budget of several billion yen (several tens of millions of dollars), the economic daily said.