The Japanese government will launch its own internet search engine to stop Google and Yahoo dominating in its home market.

According to a government official, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will kick off a study group consisting of about 20 Japanese electronics companies and universities on internet search engines.

The group will hold the first meeting Friday and plans to put together an interim report by March and a final report by July, he said.

More than 20 companies, including Hitachi, Panasonic, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Fujitsu, NEC and Tokyo University have joined the research group, which is expected to receive an initial government budget of about 12 billion yen (£60 million).

The project is expected to take between 3 to 5 years.

The report said that Japan wants to come up with its own version of search engine to catch up with the American companies that receive high profits from online ad revenues.