Nippon Steel Corp. has started pitching a new product that could change the roofs of old traditional structures across the country, although the change may be almost unnoticeable to the untrained eye.

The nation's biggest steelmaker has come up with a "kawara" roof tile made of titanium, while conventional kawara is ceramic made of dark gray clay.

Titanium kawara are much stronger and lighter than the old-style version, helping a structure stand up to a strong earthquake, the company says.