Photo of the Day: Robot Love in Fukushima

Elderly tsunami survivors take solace from a mechanical touch.

'If only the courts would allow me to cut that do-bad son-in-law out of my will and leave it all to you, Paro, believe me I would.' (Photo: Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters)
Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

Love, sweet love, as the song goes, it's the only thing that there's just too little of, but residents of the Suisyoen retirement home don't need to worry about a shortage of affection in their facility. Suisyoen home girl Satsuko Yatsuzaka clutches a therapeutic robot named Paro. The fluffy white mechanical seal gives the 84-year-old woman something very much like the touch of human kindness, but without all that troublesome emotional entanglement.

Located about 19 miles south of the tsunami-crippled nuclear plant in Iwaki, Fukushima, the Suisyoen home was evacuated for two months while the danger of atomic apocalypse was, more or less, neutralized. The returning elderly survivors of the March earthquake are understandably rattled and will take their comfort where they find it. So, for all practical purposes, a little anthropomorphized marine mammal is what their world needs now.

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