Japan launches survey of Pacific for rare earth metals
21 January 2013 Last updated at 03:10 GMT
Japan is ready to start a survey of the Pacific Ocean, hoping to find large deposits of rare earth minerals, below the ocean floor.
Used in everything from electronic devices to electric cars, securing a source of the metals would help Japan rely less on supplies from China.
As the BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports from Tokyo, the Japanese are motivated by political as well as economic concerns.