This article was published on CapX on 6 April 2017.
In recent years, Japan has become a world-leading innovator in some unusual fields.
Care homes have partnered with chefs to explore puréed and soft foods for elderly people who can no longer swallow with ease.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has funnelled billions of yen into developing robots that could pick people up and carry them to bed, massage someone’s head and wash their hair, and even administer medication.
For the country that led the way in television design, mobile phones, and music technology, these are perhaps off-the-wall interests. But rather than representing a dynamic shift in Japan’s ultra-modern economy, all this investment and innovation is a sign that the country is on the front line of a battle that many developed economies will soon be drawn into.