Inside Japan’s long experiment in automating elder care

The reality, of course, is more complex, and the popularity of robots among Japanese people relies in large part on decades of relentless promotion by state, media, and industry. Accepting the idea of robots is one thing; being willing to interact with them in real life is quite another. What’s more, their real-life abilities trail far behind the expectations shaped by their hyped-up image. It’s something of an inconvenient truth for the robot enthusiasts that despite the publicity, government support, and subsidies—and the real technological achievements of engineers and programmers—robots don’t really feature in any major aspect of most people’s daily lives in Japan, including elder care.