Japan will start exploring its own exclusive economic zone in the East China Sea for natural gas on Wednesday, looking to counter ongoing gas exploration by China at a nearby location, government officials said Tuesday.

The project, which is likely to involve experimental drilling, will last about three months, according to officials at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

China is building a gigantic natural gas complex near the intermediate line dividing the two countries’ exclusive economic zones.

Japan has a right to claim its share if resources in the Chinese EEZ are found to straddle the intermediate line. Japan has asked China to provide experimental drilling data, though these efforts have been in vain.

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