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Japan joining with US, India to tap undersea 'fire ice'

Tokyo drops go-it-alone approach to commercial use of methane hydrate

A Japanese government facility for testing methane hydrate production. (Photo courtesy of the Research Consortium for Methane Hydrate Resources in Japan)

TOKYO -- The Japanese government is revising its plan to commercialize undersea methane hydrate over the 2023-2027 period, shifting to a strategy of working with other nations on a longer time scale.

Methane hydrate contains methane gas and exists as ice-like crystals. Japan has been carrying out tests to extract the material from deep undersea off the coast of the Aichi and Mie prefectures, deploying the Chikyu, a scientific research vessel capable of drilling deep into the seafloor.

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