Sharp and e-book publisher Voyager Japan will work with the government to standardize a file format for Japanese-language electronic books.
The government is to announce plans for common specifications on Tuesday. It aims to draw up a draft by the end of the year through a cross-ministerial panel to be launched soon.
Currently, Sharp's XMDF and Voyager Japan's .book are the two main file formats for Japanese e-books. The two firms will cooperate to create a single format to be used by writers, publishers and printing houses. Dai Nippon Printing and Toppan Printing are among the companies that will participate in the project.
The move was prompted by the proliferation of devices for reading e-books, including the domestic launch of Apple's iPad tablet computer last month.