Recently, robotic technologies have come into focus as potential solution for some of the most pressing challenges the Japanese society has to confront, for example by utilizing advanced robotic technologies in the healthcare sector to support an aging demographic.
In 1985, 70 percent of the industrial robots worldwide were operated in Japan. Since then, Japan has been one of the leading countries in terms of production value of industrial robots and patent ownership of robotic technologies.
In recent years however, the growth of the robotic market has stagnated in comparison to other countries such as China, which experienced significant growth. Still, Japan is one of the leaders in the development and use of cutting-edge robotic technologies, as the demand for non-assembly line robots such as service robots and communication robots increase.
In the fifth Science and Technology Basic Plan that set the science and technology innovation policies for the period from 2016 to 2021, the Japanese government emphasized the importance of further development and use of artificial intelligence (AI), Robots, Internet of Things (IoT), and Big data. This concept, termed ‘society 5.0’ is planned to fully integrate technological solutions to the infrastructure of all the industries and households.
Reflective of this embrace of new technologies and robotics, the Tokyo Olympics 2020 will feature 16 robots in and around the venues tasked with duties from assigning seats to increasing mobility for wheelchair users with the availability of these robots to the general public scheduled for 2030.
The biggest growth for the Japanese robotics market can be projected for healthcare and service sector. The major contributing factor for this estimated growth is the demographic development of Japan which has the most aged population of the world with serious implications for the health care and age care sectors.
Recent developments have implemented robotics in services in Japan ranging from support in mobility to assistance for patients with neurodegenerative illnesses. The integration of these technologies into care and service tasks is eased by a positive attitude of the Japanese population towards robotic technologies.