• Kyodo


Japan used more industrial robots than any other country in 2001, deploying 361,232, the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe said Thursday.

But the number of newly installed industrial robots was down 40 percent from 2000 to 28,369, reflecting the sluggish Japanese economy.

The total tally for Japan includes multifunction robots and single-function ones such as machine tools. But the European Union countries only cover multifunction ones, making Japan’s figure bigger than that of the EU.

The number of multifunction robots alone in use in Japan still surpassed those of other countries, at an estimated 150,000 to 180,000 units, making Japan the world’s “leading automated nation,” an ECE official said.

Germany came in second with robots in use at 99,013, followed by the United States at 97,268.

Robots numbered 219,333 throughout the EU, exceeding that in Japan if the figures are limited to multifunction models, it said.

The number of newly installed industrial robots in Japan will probably remain around 28,000 in 2002, but it is expected to recover gradually, reaching about 36,000 by 2005, it said.