There are many definitions for what a robot is and this often leads to discrepancies between statistics quoted about robots. The commonly accepted definition in the UK is that provided by the British Robot Association which is as follows:
"An industrial robot is a re-programmable device designed to both manipulate and transport parts, tools, or specialised manufacturing implements through variable programmed motions for the performance of specific manufacturing tasks."
The definition of a robot used by the Japanese Industrial Robot Association widens this definition to include arms controlled directly by humans and also fixed sequence manipulators which are not re-programmable. This second group account for a large number of the devices in use in Japan. Having made this point it is important to stress that even using our definition of a robot, the number of robots in use in Japan is still well in excess of that in other countries.