App. B—Commissioned Background Papers
Daiwa Securities America Inc.
Not fearing the
other companies and of trained workers,
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.
voluntary teams of
8-10 employees and to suggest
who began in the mid-sixties to study
quality problems their range of
activity from quality during the seventies.
to many other areas including productivity, Studies indicate that both the unions and
larly the QC circles have often been involved
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
of jobs resulting from increasing productivity, automation, and
in the 1990’s.
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
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
improvement of quality and productivity and
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
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
be better understood in the