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Joint Press Release with the Ministry of Health, Labour and WelfareRevision of the Four Priority Areas to Which Robot Technology is to be Introduced in Nursing Care of the Elderly- Three priority items have been newly designated, including bathing -

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) revised a list titled "The Four Priority Areas to Which Robot Technology is to be Introduced in Nursing Care of the Elderly," which was formulated in November 2012, so as to contribute to nursing care providers as well as create a new industry, by introducing robot technology. METI hereby announces the results of the revision.

1. Outline

On November 22, 2012, METI and MHLW formulated the list of four priority areas and in FY2013 they started supporting the development of nursing care robots. They will also utilize the FY2013 supplementary budget as a new approach and carry out large-scale demonstration trials of such robots related to introducing them to nursing care facilities.

In addition, on June 14, 2013, the Cabinet decided to approve the Japan Revitalization Strategy. The strategy described the Five-year Plan for Developing Nursing Care Robots, specifying that Japan should endeavor to strategically develop and introduce nursing care robots.

In light of such situation, METI and MHLW also conducted a survey to identify the need for robot technology for nursing care anew, and based on the results of the survey, they have revised the priority areas so as to deal with what care givers need for home nursing, dementia, and other care. In FY2014, the ministries will start supporting the development of such robots in the newly designated priority areas.

Furthermore, aiming at the full introduction and popularization of such robots at nursing care facilities, the ministries are now preparing safety guidelines for the priority areas. It is expected that in FY 2014 the International Organization for Standardization will newly stipulate a safety standard, ISO13482, comprehensively covering robots for supporting care receivers' everyday life, including nursing care robots. The ministries will develop highly-practical safety guidelines, taking into account future revisions of ISO13482 and proposals for its detailed standards.

2. Revision of the priority areas

METI and MHLW have newly designated three items as priority areas related to efforts for developing and commercializing future nursing care robots. The total number of such priority areas now comes to five areas and eight items, including the existing four areas and five items, which were stipulated in November 2012.

Note: Items with an asterisk (*) are newly designated as priority areas.

1) Lifting aids

Wearable devices using robot technology to provide power assistance to caregivers

Non-wearable devices using robot technology providing power assistance to caregivers in lifting care receivers

2) Mobility aids

Walking-aid devices using robot technology to support elderly people walking outdoors and to secure safe carrying of loads

* Walking-aid devices using robot technology to support elderly people moving indoors, and sitting and standing; particularly assisting them in getting to and from toilets and supporting their position in using the toilet.

3) Toilets

Adjustable-position toilets using robot technology for treating excrement

4) Monitoring systems for people with senile dementia

Monitoring system platforms consisting of devices with sensors and external communication functions using robot technology, used in nursing care facilities

* Monitoring system platforms consisting of sensors detecting when such people fall over and external communication functions using robot technology, used for home nursing care

5) Bathing

* Devices using robot technology to support elderly people in the series of motions required for getting in and out of bath tubs

3. Future schedule

1) Project to Promote the Development and Introduction of Robotic Devices for Nursing Care

Concerning the five priority areas and eight items, METI will call for applicants for a subsidy project for supporting the development of such robots in March 2014.

  • FY2014 draft budget: 2.55 billion yen
  • Subsidy rates of the total cost: SMEs: 2/3; Others: 1/2

For current states of the project, see the following URL:
Robotic Care Devices Portal: http://robotcare.jp/?lang=enExternal Site Link

2) Project for Demonstrating the Introduction of Nursing Care Robots

In March 2014, METI will call for applicants for a project for supporting large-scale demonstration trials covering about 1,500 robots in 15 types in nursing care facilities, concerning the robots to be developed in the newly designated areas.

  • FY2013 draft supplementary budget: 2.05 billion yen
  • Subsidy rates of the total cost for constructing and installing such robots: SMEs: 2/3; Others: 1/2, etc.

3) Explanatory meeting

METI and MHLW will hold an explanatory meeting about the five priority areas and eight items, and support for developing nursing care robots and demonstration trials, taking the opportunity of the fifth meeting of the Partnership Project for Developing Nursing Care Robots to be held on March 5 (Wed), 2014.

If you wish to attend the explanatory meeting, please visit the following website to find the details:
Partnership Project for Developing Nursing Care Robots:
http://www.nedo.go.jp/activities/CA_partnership.htmlExternal Site Link (in Japanese)

Release Date

February 3, 2014

Division in Charge

Robot Industry Office, Manufacturing Industries Bureau

Related Information

Robot Industry

 
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