Photo/Illutration Offshore wind turbines off Noshiro Port in Akita Prefecture on Dec. 9 (Kazuyoshi Sako)

The government is considering enacting legislation to allow offshore wind farms to be built in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Offshore wind farms are currently being built in Japan’s territorial waters within 12 nautical miles (around 22 kilometers) from the coast.

However, businesses say they want the area in the sea where they can build offshore wind farms to be expanded, saying such areas will be in short supply in the future.

The government has set a target to generate 30 to 45 gigawatts of power through offshore wind farms by 2040.

An expert panel of the Cabinet Office has considered the compatibility of building offshore wind farms in the EEZ with international laws.

The panel concluded on Jan. 31 that the government should enact domestic legislation to enable offshore wind farms to be built there.

The EEZ stretches no more than 200 nautical miles from the territorial sea baseline.

Japan has marine products and mineral resources in the country’s EEZ under its control.

The farther offshore wind farms are from coasts, the more expensive it will be to operate them.

However, experts say offshore wind farms farther from the coasts benefit from stronger winds.

The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea says coastal states have sovereign rights to produce energy in their respective EEZs.

It also says that nations have certain rights in other countries’ EEZs, such as freedom of navigation.

Only a limited number of countries have built offshore wind farms in their EEZs so far.