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The USSR is showing strong interest in buying Japanese robots, and military experts in Japan speculate that some of them may be used for military purposes.

Japan makes more than half the world's robots. According to the Japan Industrial Robots Society, Moscow bought 48 Japanese robots between 1977 and 1981, including 30 to be used for welding at the Fiat-built automobile works in Togliatti.

According to Japanese defense experts, the USSR wishes to develop its own robot technology for use in Siberia and other areas with extreme weather conditions. Robots also would have a wide range of military applications such as in submarines fitted with robot arms.

Since industrial robots are not considered strategic items, their export to communist countries is not restricted by COCOM, an international agency governing strategic exports, to which both Japan and the US belong.m

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