Japan may have a long way to go before it can build a fully functional Gundam or Doraemon, but it's getting closer to bringing sci-fi-style robotic helpers and protectors into our daily lives. Japan Robot Week, which took place at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center from Oct. 19 to 21, showcased the country's premiere service robots. SoftBank, Hitachi, Tokyo's Waseda University and more than 100 other organizations showcased their most recent robotic achievements at the event.
Japan Robot Week is part of the government's 2015 plan to significantly increase growth in the robot industry by 2020 and position the nation as the world's largest society supported by robotic technology. China has currently surpassed Japan in terms of the number of robots added to the workplace annually. In order to become the global robot leader, Japan must incorporate robotic technology into factories and households — robots need to become accessible to everyone in society.
At Kanagawa Prefecture's Robot Innovation booth, the region showcased its many robotics businesses and initiatives, such as Robot Town Sagami, a special area where robotics research is subsidized. The 12 small cities that make up Sagami work with the government to relax regulations pertaining to robotic research, encouraging smaller companies to develop cutting edge technology.