As it turns out, more than 1,900 administrative procedures in Japan still require the use of floppy disks. Now, the newly appointed head of Japan’s Ministry of Digital Reform, Taro Kono, has decided to declare “war” on floppy disks and other forms of obsolete media and move the submission process online.
Let me remind you that we have already talked about curiosities with “obsolete” technologies – for example, we wrote that End of support for Adobe Flash caused interruptions in the Chinese railway system, and also, for example, that Authorities of South Africa create their own browser to continue to use Flash.
Previously, the transition to more modern storage media was hindered by legal problems, so Japanese government agencies still use CDs, MiniDiscs and floppy disks to receive materials from the public and businesses. Last December, for example, the Japanese newspaper Mainichi reported that the Tokyo police had lost two floppy disks containing information on 38 social housing applicants.
Kono promises that the group working under his leadership will present a plan to solve these problems by the end of 2022.
It should be noted that Kono is not the first to try to modernize the legislation and document flow in Japan, since in many cases data transfer procedures are strictly regulated, but the accepted protocols are long outdated. In 2021, for example, former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga tried to reduce the use of personal stamps and fax machines. However, his tenure proved to be short-lived and the program was not implemented.
Let me also remind you that quite recently, when Microsoft finally “buried” Internet Explorer, the termination of IE support provoked real chaos in Japan, since IE was still in use by many companies and government agencies.