Japan still uses floppy disks for many official procedures

Japan’s newly appointed Minister of Digital Affairs declared war on floppy and other obsolete mediathat the government keep demanding as an archiving medium for nearly 1,900 types of business applications and other forms.

The objective is to modernize the procedures, transferring the complaint process to the Internet.

Legal issues have impeded the modernization of cloud data storage in the past, and Japanese government offices often use CDs, MiniDiscs or floppy disks to accept documents from citizens and companies.

For example, the Japanese newspaper Mainichi reported in December 2021 that Tokyo police had lost two floppy disks with information on 38 public housing applicants. A digital working group led by Kono will announce how to fix these issues by the end of the year.

As a storage medium, floppy disk technology is over 50 years old. Sony released 3.5″ floppy disks in 1983 and typically store 1.44 megabytes of data. Sony stopped making them in 2011, prompting Taro to joke during his press conference, “Where do you buy a floppy these days?”

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