business

Desperately short of labor, mid-sized Japanese firms plan to buy robots

30 Comments
By Stanley White

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Robots are not the answer. It would make better sense to cut back production to within the capabilities of the staff. You can be assured that, once the robots are in place people will start to lose their jobs. The claims about labor shortages are just a way to gain public support as they set up most of the workforce for redundancy. Robots work for free, people don't. It's all about profit, not labor shortages.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Unskilled labor from SE asia will be treated like robots and they will take care of shrinking business, that sounds practical.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Necessity is the mother of invention, someone once said, and while there are plenty of other issues facing the country, this in my opinion, is an improvement. Working smarter, not harder.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

What Disillusioned said. I'd only add that thank goodness these robots will be paying so much in tax, to support Japan's graying population. You know, b/c offering good salaries to actual human beings (native or immigrant) would never help in that regard. Finally, Japanese employers have found their perfect source of labor--those who can work unlimited OT and never take a day off No minor inconveniences like Karōshi to muck things up.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Hey well the reality is that robots may be the answer.

Japan does not want immigration. They don't allow foreigners to flourish easily here with the difficulties in housing and work and visa etc. It's also quite hard to come here and work under a draconian system that won't reward most foreigners with promotions and a career, so the majority who come will be to replace the workforce. You can see self check out combini's and supermarkets happening with robotic carts for the elderly. That will probably happen before immigration does here.

So if we choose to go this route then robotics will be one of the answers.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Instead of having kids and getting women into the workforce.... ROBOTS!!

Crisis averted.

Great logic, Japan.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Taking care of the labour shortage is necessary, but robots don't pay taxes.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

As people decline in number, how are companies going to see an ROI ?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Technology has been advancing and people have been warned for the last 30 years and more that traditional manufacturing and unskilled jobs were going to disappear. Don't blame technology because most people were too lazy/stupid to NOT get into the tech and engineering jobs they were told again and again were going to be needed.

Don't complain just go get another round of McCrap, watch another mindless TV show, or read another manga and leave the advance of humanity to those who actually listened. Your world has changed and most of you will be unemployed with no hope of re-employment. Enjoy.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Stupid answer. And no one is addressing the depopulation of the countryside.  What are they going to do next?  Have robot farmers?? This shortage of labour is EVERYWHERE. Restaurants, Conbinis, Construction, Drivers and Delivery- take your pick.  Not all these jobs can be filled by robots, and EVEN IF they could be, like  Wrembreck said, robots don't pay taxes.

There needs to be a comprehensive and robust debate on controlled immigration,or our children will be paying the price for the idiocy that is the LDP's anti immigration stance.  Like it or not, there is no other way.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Why not assign a robot or two to an individual who collects their salary pays their tax and has time to fall in love raise a family and enjoy life? Or we could just be replaced as the LDP has for 70 years made life as miserable as they can and another kick to the nether regions will at least make one of them move.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Aly, that's just it, automation or robotization is already making inroads into every industry you mentioned. Google the "retail apocalypse" that's being primarily driven by Amazon. That, coupled with self-driving cars/trucks, will eliminate the two biggest job categories in my home country (US) in the near future. Apparently, 100% of the population should be writing code or serving as engineers. Any other vocation or purpose in life is a waste of time.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

When are we going to address the real issue: why don't people get married and make babies? Somehow, nobody seems to have be grip on the issue. Especially politicians who make policies. Even granting that there is some work that only robots can do (like chip manufacturing), we should still be making new Japanese.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There will come a time within the next 50 years when robots are doing many of the tasks and will pay taxes while all people receive basic loving benefits.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Hey well the reality is that robots may be the answer.

If only robots could work and prepare manufactured product ready to be shared with everybody at zero cost, money could disappear so humanity can start to think about where and what we want to do of our free time instead of focusing on how to be able to afford the next lunch....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Disillusioned: "Robots work for free, people don't."

I would tend to disagree. Robots have to be designed, manufactured, tested, serviced and fixed. This will lead to a whole other industry and more overall wealth for Japan. The dilemma is how to get jobs to the skilled laborers who will be the losers. One option I hear is a guaranteed income such as 2 million yen per person per year no matter what.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The robots do not pay tax, but the companies that use them do. Maybe in the future we will see a reversal of the recent trend to lower corporation tax if payroll taxes decrease.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There are still plenty of unemployed or underemployed people in Japan.  but they don't want to work for these companies because of poor employment practices and no work life balance.  and comp[anise don't want to employ those that do because of restrictive labour laws here.  Hence robots.  Sad, but the same happening in plenty of developed economies.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Nice, Japan needs more robots and less stressed salarymen, maybe the trains won't be so congested in the morning. There are plenty of simple jobs which could be easily replaced by robots and computers.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Robots seem very nice employees as same as humans. Time comes for sure that 80% of employees would become robots and 20% would be humans someday.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Time comes for sure that 80% of employees would become robots

From what I see in Tokyo, 80% of salarymen has already turned into robots

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Aly, that's just it, automation or robotization is already making inroads into every industry you mentioned. Google the "retail apocalypse" that's being primarily driven by Amazon. That, coupled with self-driving cars/trucks, will eliminate the two biggest job categories in my home country (US) in the near future. Apparently, 100% of the population should be writing code or serving as engineers. Any other vocation or purpose in life is a waste of time.

Sigh..If only we could replace the LDP with robots...the country would run much more smoothly I think.  LOL.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

More automation will only push wages down.

Maybe this is inevitable, but I would say that low wages are already a big problem in Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I would tend to disagree. Robots have to be designed, manufactured, tested, serviced and fixed. This will lead to a whole other industry and more overall wealth for Japan. The dilemma is how to get jobs to the skilled laborers who will be the losers. One option I hear is a guaranteed income such as 2 million yen per person per year no matter what.

Good post reckless. I think nations will eventually have to come up with some sort of universal basic income for all citizens. The Scandinavians and French (probably others too) have backed such plan and most/all citizens, employed or not, already have some sort of 'universal' revenue, healthcare assistance etc.

i think such move not only addresses the robot-based workforce issue but also the fact that, whether we like or not, society does produce a number of 'unemployable' ppl (for diverse reasons I.e skills, mental issues, drugs, general health etc). So yes, imo robots are/will be the answer in some cases yet we as a society have to accept that ppl sidelined by this as well as 'unemployable' ppl I was referring to before must be looked after.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The obvious solutions are still being avoided, so they turn to science fiction and hope for the best. THAT is why they are desperate, and why they will fail.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Robots will make babies in the future.

http://www.businessinsider.com/baby-lamb-fetus-inside-artificial-womb-2017-4

2 ( +2 / -0 )

These aren't the droids you're looking for.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thats really ironic!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes! Japan is taking the right prescriptions!

In just a decade or two, calls for more immigration and migration cor temporary work will de deemed outdated and obsolete in the impending age of A.I. , automation and singularity.

Japan is at the forefront of the three mentioned above. Adding more foreign labor there using obsolete prescription will only cause disharmony and more foreign demands to change the culture over there.

Seriously, who needs more foreign labor when AI and automation is displacing human workers at breakneck speed. Also, 88 million sounds just right for a country roughly the size of California

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Although it would be neat, at least on paper, to have Japan be like their manga/anime counterpart, with automation and robots everywhere... Right now, at this moment, there are thousands of people, hundreds of thousands even who could migrate to Japan. Even if Japan chose to pick and choose and how many, (but much more than they allow now.) there are very intelligent, very educated and definitely very hard working people fleeing their home countries due to no choice from threat of war, famine, etc. Give them a chance. That and there are homeless people on the streets in Japan. Not all of them are uneducated, some just down on their luck. As far as skilled labour, people can learn or at least do mundane things.

As far as paying taxes, I could see companies who have to rent the robots, that would be part of the taxes in itself. As far as those who buy, the government could set up an average per robot per normal pay period so taxes still get paid or all at the end of the year, what ever.

But then other countries will start to buy robots and tech to incorporate it more into their work force meaning less jobs for everyone and more profit for big businesses. But if robots don't get paid and they don't need to buy stuff anyway, who are these big businesses catering to in the first place?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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