Mizuho Introduces SoftBank’s Pepper Robot to Tokyo Bank Branch

Mizuho Financial Group Inc. introduced SoftBank Group Corp.’s Pepper robot to its flagship branch in central Tokyo.

The 121-centimeter (48-inch) humanoid will entertain customers with games and multimedia and provide basic information on products. The bank plans to add its robot employee to five Tokyo branches by the end of the year.

“Pepper will get people excited about going to the bank,” Tetsuhiko Saito, head of personal banking at Mizuho’s main lending unit, told reporters Friday.

Mizuho follows larger peer Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., which in February unveiled NAO robots, also developed by a SoftBank unit, for use at its branches. Robotics features in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to revive the economy and combat the nation’s aging and shrinking population.

Pepper went on sale to Japanese consumers on June 20, and all 1,000 units sold out within a minute.

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