Japan declares ‘war’ on obsolete technology including floppy disk | Science & Tech News

A Japanese minister has declared “war” on old-fashioned technology, including the humble floppy disk, in a determined bid to drag the government into the digital age.

Almost 2,000 government procedures still rely on the business community using the now obsolete storage devices.

Minister of Digital Affairs Taro Kono said existing regulations would be updated to allow people to use online services.

He also hopes to eliminate the use of outdated technology such as the CD and MiniDiscs.

“We will be reviewing these practices swiftly”, Mr Kono told a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The minister said Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has offered his full support, according to reports in Japan.

“Where does one even buy a floppy disk these days?” Mr Kono joked.

He also vowed to get rid of the fax machine during his speech.

He later tweeted: “There are about 1,900 government procedures that requires [the] business community to use discs, i.e floppy disc, CD, MD, to submit applications and other forms.

“(The) digital agency is to change those regulations so you can use online.”

A committee found about 1,900 law, government and ministerial clauses stipulating that specific storage devices, including floppy discs, are used to make administrative applications and keep data, the Japan Times reports.

The government is considering abolishing this requirement to reduce bureaucracy.

Any opposition from ministers or agencies would be “pushed down”, Mr Kono said.

Japan's Digital minister Taro Kono Picture: AP
Japan’s Minister of Digital Affairs Taro Kono Picture: AP

Japanese technology giant Sony halted production of floppy disks after 30 years in 2011.

But their legacy continues, with the square-shaped device still commonly used as the “save icon”.

Just six years ago it was revealed a system used to control some of America’s ballistic missiles and nuclear bombers was run from a 40-year-old computer using floppy disks.

An upgrade to a secure digital alternative was due to be completed in 2017 to “address obsolete concerns”, a Pentagon spokeswoman said.

“The system remains in use because, in short, it still works,” Lt Col Valerie Henderson said.

Meanwhile, original artworks by Andy Warhol were found on floppy disks in 2014 after being feared lost for three decades.

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