Japan eyes robots to support older population

Researchers racing against time to build humanoid workforce.
clipped from www.msnbc.msn.com
To match feature JAPAN-AGEING/ROBOTS

TOKYO - It looks like a washing machine on wheels, but the bulky contraption vacuuming the hallways of a Tokyo high-rise is a robot.

Japanese researchers hope that robots like this one will be the answer to a pressing question hanging over the country -- how to cope with an aging population and a declining labor force.

The vacuuming machine developed by Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd is already cleaning floors in about 10 buildings around the country, including a 54-floor skyscraper in central Tokyo.