Workers are seen at a construction site in Tokyo. Photo: REUTERS file
business

Labor-short construction industry investing in AI and robots

19 Comments
By Daniel Leussink and Izumi Nakagawa

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19 Comments
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its quite a comprehensive report, but, robots take time to make and install, they are also very expensive, and they do break down from time to time. what the report misses out is the alteration to non native workers. if the government relaxed its very restrictive labour and foreign labour laws, the workers will come in droves (hopefully) but no Japan still has closed boarders or the unwillingness to open up its arms to skilled workers from abroad, and what would help is the pay needs to raised.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

But a side effect is that one of Japan's least-productive sectors

I disagree with this statement.

But the reason behind the lack of workers is the conditions. If they simply improve conditions and offer benefits on par with other countries, they would see a surge in workers. Construction work has never been a minimum wage job. In Japan it is. Even workers that work for cash in other countries are paid above that.

Right now the industry standard is low pay, no overtime pay yet a huge amount of overtime hours. People don't want to kill themselves in dangerous work that doesn't pay them well.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

No such thing as a labor shortage in Japan. Rather, there's a shortage of jobs paying a living wage. Advertise all these jobs for 5000yen per hour. Miraculously, they'll all be filled within a day!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

For starters, AI robots mobilizing heavy-duty equipment and arranging site settings without doubt decreases the overhead expenditure of manual manpower. Eventually, robotics will overtake the labor force.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If you have ever worked on a building site you know interaction between workers, archatitects requires a bag of knowledge. Something a robot would just not understand probably blow something and not in a good way. Yep they can carry stuff, but from what I've experienced the plan is always mouldable. But give it a go. What could go wrong?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

AI = Advanced Intelligence, NOT artificial intelligence

: How of those workers in the picture actually work for or are employed by Shimizu Construction or some other major construction company here?

I would bet less than 1% of any of these sites have workers that are hired by the contracted construction company, and the other 99% are sub-contracted, by a sub-contractor, who hired another sub-contractor to finally find a sub-contractor who is doing the work with hourly paid, PT workers who make less than 10,000 yen per day. BUT all the "sub-contractors" took a piece of the pie for themselves and ALL their hard work in finding a sub-contractor.
1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sorry... How MANY of those workers....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Source: Article: "firms are squeezed by the tightest labor market since the 1970s and a rapidly aging population, they are pouring investment into technology - and providing unexpected support to an economy reeling from the bitter U.S.-China trade war."

Excuse after excuse. Instead the wealthy would rather pay a machine that is at best an even more larger risk since the human factor is removed from the equation. The so-called tight labor market is attributed by 2 key factors missing in the article that has nothing to do with shortage of manpower but rather 1 lack of those willing to work for low low wages at back breaking paces. 2. unused labor pool as clearly just in October alone crime reports all were from those 21-50 unemployed labor skill force. hmmm. and the foreign workers already in country legally but not desired by many Japanese companies even for miniscule labor extensive jobs. That is the main problem not technology.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is no labour shortage, there are many Japanese people who really wants to work but it is the talk only Japanese that gets job. Pay correctly the real people and , truly there is no shortage of labour but poor minded Japanese workers who takes hard working honest people's credit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Take notes, America!

This is how its businesses should invest & innovate instead of pushing amnesty and subsidy for low-tech and “cheap” labor.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This won't fair well for the working people with the company aim of replacing them with robots which will only work when a government pays citizens a living wage paid for by the taxes applied to robots.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can anyone provide the data showing there is a surplus of workers? I don't doubt you, I'm just interested

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Take notes, America!

This is how its businesses should invest & innovate instead of pushing amnesty and subsidy for low-tech and “cheap” labor.

Brilliantly argued, Redsuns. Japan does not need to follow what The West is doing, importing very cheap labor. Robots can do it. I am puzzled why some people are against this technology, that will make jobs much easier, like computers already have.

Robots are already working in some hotels and restaurants in Japan as service staff. They are working in hospitals, and as auto-makers. They could work the night shift in conbini's. I look forward to 10-20 years from now, when robots can do most of our jobs and we will only have to work a few hours each week. More time for hobbies, family, and drinking!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Just my thoughts but robotics is still a long way off currently for construction work sure manufacturing is well into robotics and robotic seam welders are performing well in construction such as tanks and vessals but they still need to be set up by a qualified welding technician. The future for robotics in construction I believe is 3D printers see link here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Construction_3D_printing

And humans will always be needed to setup, maintain and remove the robots so workers will need to be trained accordingly. In Japan there are technical high schools that are creating the next generation of workers, after all college is not for everyone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

More time for hobbies, family, and drinking!

Wow! So naive!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have yet to see a robot do anything in Japan. There are so many variables in putting up a building or assemblying scafolding, I just cant see it happening.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good !!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I love these experts talking about robots in the building industry.

None have ever hammered a nail let alone spent any time on a building site .

Ive spent all my working life on building sites and i can tell you

Yar wont be seeing any robots in the near future getting in the road of men working on a busy building site .

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Robots are already working in some hotels and restaurants in Japan as service staff. They are working in hospitals, and as auto-makers. They could work the night shift in conbini's. I look forward to 10-20 years from now, when robots can do most of our jobs and we will only have to work a few hours each week. More time for hobbies, family, and drinking!

When we can see robots take the place of the politicians, Abe, and a majority of the people who are working in city offices, THEN I will applaud the use of them!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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