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Down to Earth

Japan: Robots that care

This week, Down to Earth explores Japan's efforts to embrace robots to fill the gap left by a growing shortage of manpower.It's no secret that Japan is facing a demographic crisis. Its population is aging and its birth rate is on the decline. The Japanese government admits it doesn't have enough nurses to care for the one in four people aged over 65, a ratio that will only increase in the next few decades.

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Robots to the rescue?
 
To ease the burden on medical staff, Japanese hospitals and retirement homes have opened their doors to robots. For the moment most are being used for companionship but others are delivering medication or even helping patients to walk.
 
While Japan continues to invest tens of billions of yen into developing the most advanced robots in the world, some question whether healthcare is the most appropriate application for the technology.

 

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