As the Japanese government prepares to introduce more electronic government projects next year, it has started studying open-source operating systems, in a move that could lead to the replacement of some of its Windows-based systems with open-source alternatives like Linux.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) plans to start testing an open-source operating system at one of its research institutes, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) next year, a government official, who declined to give his name, said Monday.

“It hasn’t been decided yet, but we will see how the AIST’s trial goes and consider adopting more open-source operating systems within our ministry,” he said.

The Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (MPHPT) has also started investigating open-source operating systems.

In its 2003 budget, the MPHPT has appropriated