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App. B—Commissioned Background Papers

Daiwa Securities America Inc.

Page -9-

opportunity

to recruit

skilled workers

from

necessitates

training.

Not fearing the

loss

other companies and of trained workers,

therefore, companies

are

encouraged

to

devote

considerable

effort

to

training

programs.

Finally,

as robots

are used

in dangerous,

employees

consider

production by

unhealthy robots as

and repetitive jobs, the a means of relieving monotonous

and environmentally harmful placed by robots, have moved less demanding physically.

tasks in manufacturing. to jobs, more challenging

Employees, dis- intellectually and

The practice of QC circles has played an important role in developing

employee participation in problem-solving.

They are

voluntary teams of

8-10 employees and to suggest

who began in the mid-sixties to study

improvements.

These

teams

expanded

quality problems their range of

activity from quality during the seventies.

to many other areas including productivity, Studies indicate that both the unions and

especially particu-

larly the QC circles have often been involved

plants.

It

should

be

no

surprise

that

those

in introducing robots into companies which have the most

active QC circles are also the leaders in robotization.

Of course, the

relatively high sequent demand

tempo of real economic for increased labor,

growth in Japan, with its has more than compensated

con- for

the

losses robot

of jobs resulting from increasing productivity, automation, and

introduction.

Some

Japanese

economists,

however,

are

already

warning that

the saturation

ment problem

in the 1990’s.

by

industrial

robots

might

create

an

unemploy–

The Japanese seem to believe that they displaced the U.S. as the “Number One” in robot production largely because of the labor problem. In America and Western Europe, the introduction of robots is frequently

debated and

blem.

This

the crucial point in such debates is the unemployment pro- is rarely discussed in Japan and instead the positive effects

of robots are greater safety

discussed:

for

the

improvement of quality and productivity and

employees.

Stress

is

placed

on

the

new

opportunities

for greater and higher level employment, as robot operators, robot maintenance workers, and “software engineers”, and for opportunities in new industries such as ocean resource gathering made possible by robots. Unlike Japan, few U.S. companies have assumed the responsibility for retraining workers that could be displaced by robots. Furthermore, the American worker does not directly benefit from the increased savings and

profit created by productivity (“If in Japan.

robotics. Japan can

It is interesting that the TV program on do it, etc. ” ) omitted any discussion of the

bonus

COSTS OF LABOR AND ROBOTS

The advantages of industrial robots can context of the relationship of labor costs and ments of the robot introduction in Japan from

robot

costs.

The

accomplish-

1968

to 1973

were

not

be better understood in the

  • ‚óŹ

    35

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