• Kyodo


The government unveiled has unveiled a campaign to raise productivity at construction sites by 20 percent by 2025 through the use of drones and artificial intelligence.

At an inaugural meeting of officials and private-sector experts tasked with formulating new growth strategy policies, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed Monday to wipe out the image of construction work as dangerous, dirty and demanding, and “drastically” change the work environment.

The government envisions using drones to carry out surveying at public works sites such as tunnels, bridges and dams. The use of artificial intelligence is aimed at dramatically reducing the time required to carry out land surveys.

The government plans to discuss topics to be included in its new growth strategy until around January and compile the strategy around the middle of next year.

“We will shed light on impediments to employing the remarkable technological innovations of recent years in people’s lives and society, and push forward with reforms,” Abe said at the meeting.

With Japan’s population shrinking and graying, proposals to employ artificial intelligence are likely to involve replacing construction machinery with machines that can be operated automatically so work can be carried out with a small number of skilled workers.

The plan may involve rolling out tax breaks and financial support to aid regional public works projects and small and medium-size construction firms in adopting information and communication technologies.

At a separate meeting Monday, Abe vowed to make Japan the world leader in business innovation and make public services more convenient by streamlining bureaucratic procedures using so-called information and communications technology.

A growth strategy is one of the three “arrows” of the Abenomics economic policy package that Abe has pushed since regaining power at the end of 2012 with the aim of pulling Japan out of a decades-long deflationary trend, the other two being monetary easing and massive fiscal spending.

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