Things really do not get "more Japanese" than a robot. Whether it is the heroes and villains of manga and anime, or the Pepper you find in branches of mobile phone company SoftBank, robots seem to be everywhere here. The robots are indeed rising in Japan — and they are ready to take over the health and social care system.

In August, it was reported that Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry would seek a 20 percent increase in the budget it uses to support companies that produce "caregiver robots" for fiscal 2019. The funds requested for fiscal 2018 was reportedly ¥1.1 billion.

At first glance, this seems like a very sensible idea. Japan has an aging population and a declining birthrate. There is a projected shortfall of some 380,000 care workers by 2025. Something needs to be done, and the use of robotic technology is promising.