“We have won the war on floppy disks” — Japanese government says it has finally eradicated ancient hardware

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In a major milestone for modernization, Japan’s government has eliminated the use of floppy disks in all its systems.

The achievement comes two or three decades after the technology’s prime, and marks a pivotal milestone in Japan’s ongoing campaign to digitize and streamline government operations.

By mid-June, the Digital Agency had successfully abolished 1,034 regulations governing the use of floppy disks, retaining only one environmental regulation related to vehicle recycling.

Floppy disks are now extinct in Japan

An iconic tool used in early computers up until the 2000s, the floppy disk continues to at least partly live on as the widely recognized symbol for saving a document.

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While advancements have seen the likes of CDs, DVDs and USBs come and go (to a certain degree), making way for the cloud, floppy disks continued to be used in Japan for their numerous benefits. Known for their reliability and stability, they’re also less hackable than more modern solutions.

The eradication of floppy disks follows the establishment of the Digital Agency, which was tasked with creating a more efficient and digitally adept governmental framework. Taro Kono, Japan’s Minister for Digital Transformation and the head of the Agency, has been at the forefront of the country’s digitization efforts since assuming the position in August 2022.

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Speaking to Reuters, Kono stated: “We have won the war on floppy disks on June 28!”

However, despite these advancements, Japan’s journey towards full digitization has faced numerous challenges. The failure of a contact-tracing app during the pandemic and the slow adoption rates of the My Number digital identification card have highlighted these issues.

However, with Kono at the helm, Japan’s ambitious plans to ditch less efficient systems could see the progress they need.

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