Several Japanese robot manufacturers are to cooperate much more closely in the future as they face stronger foreign competition.
Local robot developers including Vstone, ZMP and Tmsuk have formed a new industry association to cooperate in areas including research and marketing, according to Kyodo News.
Representatives told local media that they were prompted to unite by factors including strong support from South Korea's government for robot developers.
An ageing population is prompting interest in robotics in both countries. Various products have been demonstrated, including robot store assistants, tourist guides and security guards, but actual use has been limited.
The most common robotic products remain vacuum cleaners, such as the US-developed Roomba, and toys, such as Sony's discontinued Aibo robotic dog.
"The decrease in the working population due to the 'greying' of society, coupled with the declining birth rate, has caused per-capita GDP to drop," the Yomiuri Shimbun warned in an editorial calling for a stronger focus on science and technology research.
Japan's relative share of global GDP was 9.1 per cent at the end of 2006, a fall of 50 per cent during the past decade, according to a white paper issued by the country's Education, Science and Technology Ministry.
The Japanese government's Council for Science and Technology Policy recently laid out plans for a large increase in government spending on robotics research.
Major Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota and Honda have their own well-publicised robot development programmes, but have not made any comment on the new association.
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