Japan Is Finally Weaning Off The Floppy Disk For Modern Storage Devices
By Mikelle Leow, 30 Jan 2024
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Japan, the land of video games and endless innovation, is finally saying sayonara to the floppy disk in its bureaucratic systems. In a much-belated leap towards digitization, the country’s government has announced it will no longer require businesses to use floppy disks and CD-ROMs for submitting certain official documents, favoring more modern and efficient methods of data submission instead.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has spearheaded this change by eliminating 34 ordinances that previously mandated the use of these antiquated storage mediums. This decision, effective from the end of 2023, extends to various sectors including energy, mining, and even aircraft and weapons manufacturing, showcasing broad implications of this shift.
This initiative was propelled by Taro Kono, the head of Japan’s Digital Agency Cabinet sub-division, who in September 2022 called for a government-wide review of regulations requiring outdated physical media. Kono identified nearly 1,900 government ordinances that were still dependent on physical media, underscoring the widespread nature of this reliance.
For years, the use of these media has been symbolic of Japan’s slow pace in adopting digital innovations within its bureaucratic processes. The push for reform highlights the increasingly glaring inconveniences with using tools like floppy disks, including the difficulty in obtaining and updating data, as well as the risk of data loss or damage due to the physical nature of these media.
By moving towards the future, Japan won’t just be boosting the efficiency of its administrative processes but also the security and accessibility of data. Digital files can be encrypted, securely stored in the cloud, and easily gathered or shared, as opposed to vulnerable floppy disks and CD-ROMs.
Interestingly, back in the US, Chuck E. Cheese continues to rely on floppy disks to operate its animatronic performances. The company reasoned that it had stumbled into operational issues during experimentations with newer technologies like flash drives and SD cards.
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