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Makers of high-tech gadgets are turning out products friendly to the elderly as it is estimated that one out of every four people in Japan will be 65 or older in 2013.

Sharp Corp., which manufactures audiovisual and telecommunications equipment as well as home appliances, is marketing a TV featuring a built-in Blu-ray Aquos recorder.

The company says the product is designed to reduce time and effort dealing with complicated manipulation. It is possible to watch a movie on the TV simply by slipping in a disc on the left side of the set.

There are quite a few senior citizens like Kazuko Tsuruta, 75, of Nara, who find it difficult to handle a remote control. They have a hard time reading instruction manuals for electrical appliances that include unfamiliar technical terms.

“There are many buttons on a TV remote control that I don’t know how to operate,” she said. “I had my son teach me the minimum amount to handle it and somehow I am now able to see movies on DVD.”

Based on a similar strategy, NTT DoCoMo Inc. has sold more than 13 million cell phones in its Raku Raku Phone (phone with ease) series since its launch in 1999. Their strong points are large letters shown on the screen and the sound of the party on the other end is audible to seniors.

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