…the Ministry of Defense is! From Anime News Network:
The Technical Research and Development Institute in Japan’s Ministry of Defense has posted on its website the program for its Heisei 19 Research Paper Presentation: Defense Technology Symposium 2007 on October 29, and the November 7-8 symposium’s schedule includes a ground equipment exhibit titled: “Towards the Realization of Gundam (Advanced Personal Equipment System).” The exhibit runs alongside another one for a “Miniature Robot (for Reconnaissance and Data Gathering).”
Mike’s take: LOLOLOLOL so life really does imitate art sometimes! My guess though that this is the Japanese equivalent of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) in the US, the Pentagon subagency that gave us the Internet, Total Information Awareness complete with a creepy Illuminati logo, and is currently looking into autonomous robots themselves right now (they have a robotics competition every year). They even once had a head who was literally called Poindexter! The US army is also working on personal exoskeletons for soldiers too. But this is robot-mad Japan. If anyone can do it, or think it, it would be them first. They have so many models, plamos, and garage kits to work from after all. And a very willing population in Akihabara to help them.
To the Japanese Ministry of Defense I wish them a successful Gundam ikimasu! May you recruit dozens of angsty young teenage boys to work for their researcher fathers soon and reconsider the meaning of war and violence.