Japan PM Abe wants to stage 2020 Robot Olympics

June 19, 2014
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe inspects a robot working at an assembly line of cash dispensers at a factory in Kazo, suburban Tokyo on June 19, 2014

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to stage a "Robot Olympics" in 2020, the same year Tokyo hosts the Summer Games, local media reported Thursday.

Abe also revealed plans for a to develop Japan's and to triple the size of the market for the machines to 2.4 trillion yen ($24 billion).

"In 2020 I would like to gather all of the world's robots and aim to hold an Olympics where they compete in technical skills," Abe told reporters.

"We want to make robots a major pillar of our economic growth strategy," Abe was quoted as saying by Japan's Jiji Press agency.

Abe was speaking during a visit to production lines for industrial and care-giving robots in Saitama, north of Tokyo, and in the Japanese capital.

"We would like to set up a council on making a robotic revolution a reality in order to aid Japan's growth," he said.

Abe gave the thumbs up to a bed that transforms into a wheelchair, calling it "easy to use" after trying it out for himself.

Japan, one of the world leaders in robotics, recently unveiled a chatty humanoid that its makers say can understand people's emotions.

© 2014 AFP