After finishing grad school, Tetsuya Sawanobori decided to start a restaurant in Japan. However, a year later, he had to pull the plug.
Currently, there is a serious lack of labor as people tend to avoid these jobs. The tasks are too repetitive and can be overwhelming for workers. They tend to work 12 to 15 hours a day with few holidays.
This situation is becoming more prominent as Japan’s population continues to diminish. Additionally, the lack of rest has put more pressure on current Japanese workers.
In Japan’s work-centric culture, long office hours have become a cultural norm for the country post-war. Decades of economic growth earned the country the spot of the third-largest economy in the world.
Growth beginning in the 1990s has since slowed, but the number of hours has remained.
Many industries are now looking to robots as a way around the shortage of manual labor.
Now, Sawanobori is president of Connected Robotics. Early-stage venture firm 500 Startups is backing the start-up company.
The company plans to sell a robot that can help restaurants prepare an everyday street food called Takoyaki says Sawanobori. The batter balls filled with minced octopus is a simple recipe. The robot can put the ingredients on the grill pan and tend to them as they cook.
Although the process is not sped up with the robot, it will make it less tiring for the kitchen staff who don’t have to stand in front of the hot grill. The plan is to design the robots to help restaurants with the preparation and cooking of other Japanese dishes as well as washing dirty dishes.
Robots Are Gaining More Jobs to Help Japan’s Shrinking Population
Cooking isn’t the only job robots have in Japan. Now, robots are also entering the field of nursing and elderly care. It is predicted by 2025 that the field will see a shortage of 380,000 workers.
Taking care of the mounting number of elderly citizens is often avoided by employment seekers as it can be overwhelming.
There is a wide variety of robots that are helping in care related fields. A collection of robots deliver medicine and test samples around the hospital. Because of this, these robots reduce the workload for nurses drastically. Palro, another robot, guides senior residents during recreational activities and even holds a basic conversation.
Pepper, however, is still the most recognizable robot from Japan. It helps manage customers in physical stores across the country.