Page last updated at 16:15 GMT, Monday, 17 May 2010 17:15 UK

Japan may pick robots over immigrants

Japan, like many countries across the globe, is facing huge challenges in caring for its aging population.

Its hospitals are stretched because there are not enough nurses to cope.

The low birth rate there means foreign workers need to be recruited but there is a widespread opposition to immigration in the country as many Japanese value an ethnically homogenous society.

For some, robots may be preferable to allowing foreigners to work there.

Roland Buerk reports from Osaka.

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