A Washington Post article discusses the wide variety of robots being embraced in Japan; from the latest android receptionist and the familiar Asimo humanoid to a $3500 robot seal designed to comfort the elderly. "Scientists and government authorities have dubbed 2005 the unofficial year of the robot". The article notes that while the US is probably Japan's equal in the field of AI, Japan is far ahead in robotics. They are investing billions of dollars to develop humanoid robots that can take part in every day life. One researcher suggests that monotheistic western religions may be part of the reason that humanoid robots cannot be accepted in the west as they are in the east.