Japan and the United States agreed Saturday to cooperate in the development of geothermal energy, one of the most abundant resources in Japan’s chain of volcanic islands.

The memorandum of cooperation was signed Saturday on the sidelines of a meeting of Group of Seven energy and environment ministers in Hokkaido, a city in northern Japan.

Japan’s famous hot springs reflect its abundant geothermal activity, but spas and resorts clustered around them have slowed attempts to harness that resource for electricity generation.

The pact, signed by U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura, notes that geothermal energy is recognized as a “renewable energy technology that the United States and Japan can work together to develop.”

He calls for collaboration in research and development, information exchange, and the pursuit of geothermal projects in the United States, Japan, and other countries. It is one of several areas in which the two countries intend to collaborate to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions, which contribute to climate change.

“The prospects for wind energy are huge. The prospects for geothermal. We’re very excited to partner with Japan on these kinds of issues,” Granholm said during an interview Friday with The Associated Press ahead of the G7 meetings.

The agreement does not specify expenses, but says each party will bear the costs associated with its own activities.

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