2023 Program

Robots Won't Save Japan - An interview with author James Wright on June 21st, 2023


Robots Won’t Save Japan – An interview with author
James Wright

Wednesday, June 21, 2023
12:00 – 1:00 PM (PT)


Online (Zoom)



In 2014, Japan’s METI estimated that Japanese nursing care robots would grow to ¥391 billion by 2025. That same year, SoftBank introduced Pepper, the world’s first humanoid robot able to recognize human faces and basic emotions, and Prime Minister Abe Shinzo announced the Robot Revolution Initiative. It seemed apparent that Japan would lead the charge in creating robots for care. But have robots lived up to their promise in helping Japan face the dual challenge of an increasing aging population and staffing shortages?

Japan is not alone in dealing with the trials that come with an aging population. Many countries around the world face three major issues associated with their aging societies: a declining population, an increasing proportion of seniors, and an increasing number of single-person households. Here in California, for instance, the government issued a Master Aging Plan in 2020 to help direct resources as California’s senior population increases.

In February 2023, author and researcher James Wright published Robots Won’t Save Japan: An Ethnography of Eldercare Automation, drawing on his ethnographic research in senior living facilities in Japan. Wright joins us June 21 for a special discussion of the research behind his book, and his conclusions about the limitations of robots in caregiving settings.

日本は官民あげて、高齢者介護をロボットに手伝わせようとしてきた結果、何が起こってきているでしょうか?『Robots Won’t Save Japan: An Ethnography of Eldercare Automation』(『ロボットは日本を救わない:高齢者介護自動化のエスノグラフィー』)という刺激的タイトルの本を最近出版した、James Wright によるオンラインセミナーです。