Japan, a country known for advancing some of the world’s most innovative and quirky tech, is preparing to launch an all out “war” against the humble floppy disk.
Taro Kono, the country’s newly appointed Digital Minister, bellowed out his battle cry on Tuesday, via Twitter. According to Kono, floppy disks — along with other dated tech like CDs and MiniDiscs — are still required for around 1,900 government procedures.
Kono’s vow to purge the government of the 50 plus year old floppy tech comes amid a broader effort to modernise the way people in Japan submit applications and other forms. The digital minister said his crusade has the backing of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, according to a press conference viewed by Bloomberg.
This isn’t the first time Kono’s lashed out at perceived inefficiencies weighing down Japan’s government bureaucracy. He’s previously taken aim at fax machines and traditional hanko carved stamps.
“I’m looking to get rid of the fax machine, and I still plan to do that,” Kono said.
Digital Minister declares a war on floppy discs.
There are about 1900 government procedures that requires business community to use discs, i. e. floppy disc, CD, MD, etc to submit applications and other forms. Digital Agency is to change those regulations so you can use online.
— KONO Taro (@konotaromp) August 31, 2022
Japan may have no choice but to turn their back on the floppy for purely practical reasons. Sony, one of the leading manufacturers of the disks in the past, officially stopped producing them 11 years ago. Since then, most organisations have moved on to more advanced storage alternatives like USB-flash drives and cloud services. Even the U.S. The Department of Defence, which oddly holds a strong reputation as a late adopter to new computer tech, finally phased out floppy discs in 2019 after a gnarly five decades of use.
Supply issues aside, floppy discs are increasingly impractical. Modern texts and spreadsheet files are significantly larger than those in the 80’s when floppys were in their prime.