ROBOTS: Canon Inc. is moving toward using just machines to make digital cameras, part of an industry trend being played out across Japan, a world leader in robotics.
TIMELINE: The move toward machine-only production will likely be completed in the next few years, perhaps as soon as 2015.
MANUFACTURING SAVIOR: The plan is an effort to cut costs. Japanese manufacturers have been moving production abroad recently to offset the damage to profits from the soaring yen. And fears are growing about a hollowing-out of Japan Inc. as jobs move to where labor costs are cheaper.