The serious physical damage caused by the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant disaster, following the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami, has reminded Japan all the more of its acute shortage of natural energy sources and the need for developing alternative sources. This has led scientists and private corporations as well as the public sector to look for alternative means of generating electricity.

The key word for such efforts is "ocean." Completely surrounded by the sea, Japan has huge potentials for utilizing oceanic power and resources. For starters, Japan is surrounded by an exclusive economic zone of about 4.47 million square km. This is the sixth-largest EEZ in the world.

The first things that come to mind when thinking of submarine energy resources are methane hydrate and natural gas. Japan is said to be blessed with methane hydrate reserves whose volume is 100 times its current annual gas consumption. But exploration technologies for this material are still in their infancy. Submarine natural gas is also abundant in the East China Sea, where Japan and China are at loggerheads.