A major international conference on water issues has opened in Japan.

Delegates from more than 150 countries were expected to discuss ways to raise awareness about the resource.

The Third World Water Forum will be attended by government ministers and several heads of state from around the world. It will consider actions to help some 1.4 billion people without access to safe drinking-water.

More than 10,000 people, including representatives of non-government organisations, are expected to join the week-long event in the cities of Kyoto, Osaka and Shiga.