From the Mangobot column at io9.com:
"If you've noticed an unusually large number of utilitarian humanoids hailing from Japan in the last few years, then you probably won't be surprised to hear about the country's official robot initiative. Right now, Japan is in the midst of executing a grand plan to make robots an integrated part of everyday life. To compensate for the shortage of young workers willing to do menial tasks, the Japan Robot Association, the government, and several technology institutions drafted a formal plan to create a society in which robots live side by side with humans by the year 2010."
There seems to be a disjunction between robots being "workers" and living "side by side with humans." I mean, most anthropomorphic visions of robots seem to implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) expect robots essentially to be slaves. That doesn't approach the utopianism in the phrase "side by side." I have noticed that Japan tends to be more interested in (or more comfortable with) humanoid robots. I wonder why this is?