When Britain’s Boris Johnson met high-tech robots in Japan

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British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Thursday shook hands with one of Japan’s high-tech robots, a humanoid candidate to carry the torch as part of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Johnson, kicking off a trip to Japan, visited the robotic center at Waseda University, which works closely with Britain’s University of Birmingham on robotic technologies.


He witnessed a demonstration of WABIAN II, which resembles a tiny astronaut that Waseda hopes will make the list of torch runners for the Games. “No kidding!” Johnson said, when told of the plan.

Smiling, he walked with the humanoid and also shook hands with it. Johnson also observed a demonstration of a disaster recovery robot, named Octopus -- a four-armed, four-wheeled crawler designed to clear rubble and save lives in areas with complex terrain.

Britain’s top diplomat is scheduled to meet Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday to discuss increased foreign and security policy cooperation to tackle threats to regional stability.

He will also meet business leaders, investors and representatives from British businesses to discuss the future of trade and investment relations between the two countries ahead of Brexit.

Johnson, who served as London mayor during the 2012 Olympics there, also plans to meet Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike who will lead the city into the 2020 event.

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