Over a fifth of Japanese businesses are using open-source operating systems, most thanks to lower costs, according to a report by the Japanese government.

So far, 21 percent of Japanese companies have already introduced open-source OSes including Linux, FreeBSD and OpenBSD systems, while 22 percent either have plans to deploy, or are considering plans to deploy, an open-source operating system, according to an annual white paper released by Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC).

By contrast, 33 percent of US companies have adopted open-source operating systems in at least some of their servers, MIC said.

Among the companies polled by the MIC, 66 percent said open-source operating systems have low initial costs, while 47.8 percent said the software has low operating costs

Of those companies that have so far adopted open-source operating systems, major uses include Web, mail, and file servers. Open-source operating systems are used with much less frequency, the report said.

While many Japanese companies are planning to use open-source operating systems, 22 percent of companies said they were interested in, but not considering introducing open-source operating systems, while 20 percent said they were not going to adopt open source, the report said.

The MIC white paper did not provide data on the number of companies that responded to the ministry's survey, which was conducted on the Web.