Japan's PM Abe wants to stage 2020 Robot Olympics

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe inspects a robot working at an assembly line of cash dispensers at a factory in Kazo, suburban Tokyo on June 19, 2014. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to stage a "Robot Olympics" in 2020, the same year
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe inspects a robot working at an assembly line of cash dispensers at a factory in Kazo, suburban Tokyo on June 19, 2014. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to stage a "Robot Olympics" in 2020, the same year Tokyo hosts the Summer Games, local media reported Thursday, June 19, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to stage a "Robot Olympics" in 2020, the same year Tokyo hosts the Summer Games, local media reported Thursday.

Mr Abe also revealed plans for a task force to develop Japan's robot industry and to triple the size of the market for the machines to 2.4 trillion yen (S$29 billion).

"In 2020 I would like to gather all of the world's robots and aim to hold an Olympics where they compete in technical skills," Mr Abe told reporters.

"We want to make robots a major pillar of our economic growth strategy," Mr Abe was quoted as saying by Japan's Jiji Press agency.

Mr Abe was speaking during a visit to production lines for industrial and care-giving robots in Saitama, north of Tokyo, and in the Japanese capital.

"We would like to set up a council on making a robotic revolution a reality in order to aid Japan's growth," he said.

Mr Abe gave the thumbs up to a bed that transforms into a wheelchair, calling it "easy to use" after trying it out for himself.

Japan, one of the world leaders in robotics, recently unveiled a chatty humanoid robot that its makers say can understand people's emotions.