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Japan Robots To Farm Tsunami-Damaged Zone

First Posted: 01/06/12 12:17 AM ET Updated: 01/06/12 12:19 AM ET

In a region of the world that's down on its luck, robots are stepping up to the plate to save Japan's ravaged agricultural production. At least that's what the ministry responsible for the experiment hopes the "Dream Project" will accomplish. After the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated Japan in March, the government is trying out a new project to help rejuvenate the struggling sector.

According to AFP, Japan is planning to spend $52 million in the next 6 years to instate robots on farmland decimated by floodwater from the tsunami. The robots will work the fields and box crops when they are ready for harvest.

Last month, the Japanese government revealed that plans to decommission the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant will take at least 40 years. New kinds of robots also will be needed to remove melted fuel from the plant.

It remains to be seen how successful the farming initiative will be; it may be too late for robots to come to Japan's rescue. As The Japan Times notes, many expected robots to be deployed immediately after the disaster, and were disillusioned by the immediate response to the damaged reactors at Fukushima.

Still, it's been a big year for robots in Japan -- they've also shown their prowess at pouring drinks, climbing ladders, and washing hair.

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Filed by Clare Richardson  |