Fourth Industrial Revolution

What we can learn from Japan's adoption of robots in the service sector

Residents follow moves made by humanoid robot 'Pepper' during an afternoon exercise session at a nursing home in Tokyo.

A robot entertains residents at a nursing home in Tokyo. Image: REUTERS/Kim Kyung

Karen Eggleston
Director of the Asia Health Policy Program, Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University
Yong Suk Lee
SK Center Fellow, Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Toshiaki Iizuka
Professor, Graduate School of Public Policy and Graduate School of Economics, The University of Tokyo
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two maps of Japan, the first highlighting where people aged 70+ are living and the second highlighting the proportion of nursing home residents with substantial functional limitations.
Robots in Japan are being developed for use in long-term care for the elderly. Image: Statistical data on Prefectures (Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications) and Map source Map source: GADM ver. 3.6, Center for Spatial Sciences at the University of California, Davis
two maps of Japan, the first showing the number of planned robots in different areas across the country in 2017 and the second showing planned robot exposure in 2017
Robots could have a significant future role in the care sector. Image: Source: Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, Japan. Various years. Prefectural report on funds set aside to improve health care and long-term care service in each prefecture, map source Map source: GADM ver. 3.6, Center for Spatial Sciences at the University of California, Davis
a graph to show the increase of robot adoption in nursing homes
Evidence suggests that robots may reduce the burden on care workers and nurses. Image: VOXEU
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Related topics:
Fourth Industrial RevolutionArtificial IntelligenceAgeing and LongevityJapan
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