January 26, 2035
Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs yesterday issued a warning that Japan’s population could shrink as much as 50% due to the widespread use of robot ‘companions’.
Sony’s popular ‘Tomoko’ model, released five years ago, was the first robot that was marketed to shy, young men as a replacement for a girlfriend or wife. Tomoko has realistic sexual organs and is programmed to provide sexual services as well as cleaning and cooking.
It was originally thought that Tomoko would allow shy males to experiment sexually in a ‘safe space’ before moving on to a relationship with an actual female. However, in many cases, this has simply not happened. Many fans of the Tomoko robot (who usually give her another name) insist that they are happy with her and she is the perfect companion.
The release of Tomoko corresponded almost immediately with a drop in marriage rates and a drop in birth rates in Japan, which has had low birth rates for some time anyway.
Meanwhile, Sony plans to begin exporting the popular robots overseas within a few months. It also has plans to release a male version of the robot, named Takashi.