Japan Wants to Remove Mandatory Use of Floppy Disks


The Japanese Minister for Digitization, Taro Kono, wants to eliminate the obligation to use diskettes and CD-ROMs for uploading data to the government.


It is a strange fact in 2022, but the Asian country has many rules in its legal texts about how data may be provided to the government. In total, there are about 1,900 rules around, and many boil down to using floppy disks or CDs. As the world digitizes, those things have never changed, but Kono now wants to end that.

The news comes as a result of a Japanese conference on digital society. Japan wants to give citizens more options to use government services digitally, which means that much more data is sent to that government. But the current rules for that are an obstacle. For example, uploading via the internet is not mentioned in those rules and, therefore, technically not allowed.

Such procedures are not unique, even outside Japan. They often stem from laws when the first digital or electronic applications were developed based on the devices and carriers of that time.

A well-known example of this is the nuclear weapons launch orders in the US. In 2014, the general public learned that they still rely on one old computer, using 8-inch floppy disks. That is the forerunner of the hard 3.5 inch diskette that was very common in the early 1990s. In 2019, it was announced that the US had modernized its systems.

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