The Japanese Government Has Just Achieved an Unusual Victory in 2024: Eliminating the Use of Floppy Disks

  • In 2022, around 1,900 government procedures recommended the use of floppy disks.

  • However, the country has updated regulations to eliminate this storage medium entirely.

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Japan’s technological advancements in robotics, high-speed trains, and ultra-fast Internet may give the impression that the country is “living in the future.” However, some aspects of its society are still strongly rooted in older technologies.

Despite increasing interconnectedness and the rise of comprehensive and secure cloud services, actions like cash payments, document faxing, and form filing on floppy disks are still prevalent in Japan. However, everything indicates that Japan is finally moving away from these practices.

Japan Says Goodbye to the Floppy Disk

According to Reuters, Taro Kono, Japan’s digital minister, announced that the government has finally “won the war on floppy disks.” This marks the end of a long struggle to almost entirely eliminate the obsolete storage medium from the nation’s administrative procedures.

The use of floppy disks was deeply ingrained in the Japanese government, making their eradication challenging. Just two years ago, around 1,900 procedures still involved the use of physical media such as floppy disks or CDs, hindering the adoption of modern alternatives.

Floppy disks

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry acknowledged that some provisions in the regulations were ambiguous. For instance, while documents could be sent via cloud platforms, many people and officials still chose to use floppy disks to avoid potential inconveniences.

In response, the country’s Digital Agency worked hard to update the regulations to modernize the affected provisions. By the end of June, only one regulation, one relating to vehicle recycling, still required documentation to be presented on media like floppy disks.

Japan’s government has taken the final step to phase out floppy disks, a magnetic storage medium first introduced in the early 1970s. Interestingly, though, it’ll continue to be used in some important systems like certain San Francisco trains and specific Boeing 747s.

Image | Behnam Norouzi | s j

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