It is known as the “vending machine problem” — where the appearance of a world-beating technological nation masks a country that retains some surprisingly low-tech ways. While Japan is ahead of its rivals in robotics, factory automation and sensors for example, its banks and insurers lag behind in using information technology.

Laggard status may be manageable in finance so long as Japanese customers — a third of whom are over 65 — do not complain. However, for swaths of Japanese industry, government officials warn of a gap opening up with the US, Germany, China and South Korea.

The size and scope of Japan’s industrial economy mean it has more than one type of competitor: in autonomous driving, it is Germany and Silicon Valley; in internet-of-things machine tools, the rival is China, says the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Meti).

Read more: Internet of things tops Shinzo Abe’s list of priorities

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Published by Mike Rawson

Mike Rawson has recently re-awoken a long-standing interest in robots and our automated future. He lives in London with a single android - a temperamental vacuum cleaner - but is looking forward to getting more cyborgs soon.

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Internet of things tops Shinzo Abe’s list of priorities

by Mike Rawson time to read: 1 min
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