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Robots in Japanese Tourism, Entertainment Sector | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A receptionist robot, top center, accompanied by two other
robots, greets a hotel employee demonstrating how to check in at the
called Henn na Hotel, or Weird Hotel, in Sasebo, southwestern Japan,
Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Shizuo Kambayashi / AP

London-Have you ever met Chihira Junco, the receptionist of a mall in Tokyo? She stands in her blue jacket and penciled skirt in the Aqua City Odaiba Mall to provide visitors with directions and tips on sites and local stores in Tokyo in the Japanese, Chinese and English languages.

Yet, Miss Junco is not a human being; it is a member of the first series of robots that have appeared in public places in Japan.Toshiba Company has developed Junco in cooperation with a number of technology labs in many Japanese universities. The cost of this robot along with four others has reached around USD93,000; Junco has been the first robot to operate in public while the four others are still under manufacture.

The company has revealed its intention to develop 1,000 robots by 2017, and 10,000 by 2020.

People in the Japanese Acqua City can ask the robot Junco many questions by pressing one button. The female robot can express herself through its arm motions and eye sparkles; when speaking, it looks like a woman who is chewing gum. However, for people who prefer to deal with humans, two other human receptionists stand in another reception area at the same center.