Japan Celebrates End of Floppy Disk Era in Government

Japan Celebrates End of Floppy Disk Era in Government

Japan’s government has achieved a significant milestone by phasing out the use of floppy disks across all its systems, marking the culmination of a decades-long effort to modernize its bureaucracy.

As of mid-last month, Japan’s Digital Agency successfully eliminated 1,034 regulations that previously sanctioned the use of floppy disks, with only one environmental guideline related to vehicle recycling remaining in place.

“We have won the war on floppy disks on June 28!” exclaimed Digital Minister Taro Kono in a statement to Reuters on Wednesday. Kono, known for his advocacy to eradicate outdated technologies like fax machines from government operations, has been a pivotal figure in Japan’s digital transformation.

Established during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, the Digital Agency was created in response to revelations that the government’s reliance on paper filing and obsolete technologies hindered rapid nationwide testing and vaccination efforts.

Taro Kono, a prominent political figure with a significant online following, has previously held key positions including defense and foreign minister, as well as overseeing Japan’s COVID vaccine rollout. He assumed his current role in August 2022 following an unsuccessful bid for prime minister.

Despite these achievements, Japan’s digital modernization journey has encountered challenges. For instance, a contact-tracing app struggled to gain traction during the pandemic, and the adoption of the government’s My Number digital identification card has been slower than anticipated due to recurring data management issues.

Nevertheless, the elimination of floppy disks symbolizes Japan’s commitment to shedding antiquated technologies and embracing digital innovations, setting the stage for further advancements in governmental efficiency and service delivery.

This move not only signifies a technological leap but also underscores Japan’s determination to adapt to contemporary challenges and enhance its digital infrastructure for the future.

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