The long-term rivalry between China and Japan, often characterised as the “World’s Most Dangerous Rivalry,” was exacerbated at the CIROS show held in Shanghai last week by a bowing Prime Minister Abe look-alike robot and an enterprising Chinese sales group.
The robot, dressed in a suit and bowing to visitors, according to the International Business Times, “came to be called ‘Apologizing Abe’, and photos and videos of the Abe-lookalike robot have gone viral across social media in China. The ‘Apologizing Abe’ robot is being seen by many in China as a mocking reference to Abe’s refusal to issue a formal apology for Japan’s wartime atrocities during World War II, as the Japanese Prime Minister only expressed ‘deep remorse’ earlier this year.”
“It’s just a way to attract attention from visitors and with absolutely no political implication,” Wang Guofeng, sales agent for the reported manufacturer of the robot, Shanghai Jinghong Robot Co Ltd, told China’s Global Times. The company is selling the robot on its website for 39,000 yuan ($6,282), according to the report.
The CIROS show had over 100 exhibitors and a large crowd of business people, educators and consultants interested in finding out about how robots might help them in their shops, plants and factories. A report on the show, by people who attended, walked the floors, and talked with the exhibitors, will appear soon on The Robot Report.