Japan Puts Its Post-Covid Tourism Hopes In Hands Of Giant Robot

TOKYO, Nov 30 (Reuters) – An 18-meter (60-foot) “Gundam” robot that can walk and move its arms was unveiled in Japan on Monday amid hopes that it will help invigorate tourism hit by COVID-19. The robot is modeled after a figure in “Mobile Suit Gundam,” a Japanese cartoon first launched in the late 1970s about enormous battle robots piloted by humans. The series spawned multiple spin-offs and toys and gained a worldwide following. It will be the centerpiece of the Gundam Factory Yokohama, a tourist attraction that opens on Dec. 19 in the port city. “I hope this will lead to stimulating tourism demand and revitalizing local areas,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a news conference. “Of course, we now have the coronavirus issue. I want people to tackle endeavors like this while making an effort to prevent the spread of infection.” (Reporting by Hideto Sakai, writing by Kiyoshi Takenaka, editing by Giles Elgood)