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Seven-foot robots are stacking shelves in Tokyo convenience stores

September 15, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Japan's convenience stores are turning to robots to solve their labor shortage.

FamilyMart trialled the same robots last month, and says it plans to have them working in 20 of its stores by 2022.

In theory, the robot could be controlled from anywhere in the world, says Komatsu.

During a trial in August at a FamilyMart store in Tokyo, the pilot operated the robot from a VR terminal at the Telexistence office around five miles away.

"A remote-controlled robot allows one person to work at multiple stores," says Satoru Yoshizawa, a representative of FamilyMart.

With a robot, they could employ a single operator to work across multiple stores, and focus on hiring humans to work at cash registers, he says.

"We have been trying to solve the labor shortage in some of our stores and through this experiment we are going to examine how the robots will help," Ken Mochimaru, of Lawson's corporate communications division, tells CNN Business.

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