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Japan wants to put an end to floppy disks for good

Photo by Hello I'm Nik / Unsplash

The Japanese government wants to phase out the use of floppy disks in order to reduce its reliance on outdated technology.

The country's digital minister issued an edict declaring "war" on floppy disks as part of a campaign to phase out a number of older platforms and tools.

Taro Kono is now attempting to rewrite rules that require the use of floppy disks and equally obsolete CD-ROMs when sending data to the Japanese government.

According to Bloomberg, the announcement was made at the 5th Digital Society Concept Conference as part of plans to launch a national ID number for all Japanese citizens.

This new ID system, dubbed MyNumber, is part of the Japanese government's future digital services, many of which will necessitate data uploading to online platforms.

However, while researching the program's requirements, Kono and his team discovered over 1,900 regulations governing how data can be shared with the government, many of which require the use of floppy disks or CD-ROMs, as uploading data over the internet is prohibited for security reasons.

Kono has now stated that his department will work to correct these regulations in order for modernization efforts to continue.

The move is only the most recent in a long line of efforts in Japan to reduce reliance on older technology. According to the Register, former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga attempted to restrict the use of fax machines and seals, but was unsuccessful due to his dismissal.

However, according to a survey conducted in May 2022, the fax machine is still very much alive and well, with the majority (54%) of companies claiming to have between 6 and 50 fax users, and a fifth claiming to have 51 or more fax users within their organizations.

Contracts account for the majority of faxed files (56%) followed by tenancy agreements (44%), company accounts (31%), commercially sensitive documents (28%), and documents containing sensitive banking information (26%).