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Robot-made Asics sneakers to reach markets faster

Onitsuka Tiger producer plays catch-up to rivals Nike and Adidas

Asics will automate part of the production line at a Tottori Prefecture plant next year. (Photo by Hiroyuki Koizumi)

OSAKA -- Asics, the Japanese company behind Onitsuka Tiger sneakers, will introduce a host of robots to a plant in Japan so that it can swiftly respond to the latest consumer trends and put its footwear on store shelves faster.

Robots will take over a third of the production process at a factory in Tottori Prefecture next spring. They will handle the step of stitching the upper -- the part of the shoe that covers the foot -- to the sole. This will halve the number of workers required.

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