Japan's digital minister declares victory against floppy disks

The war on the relic is finally won. Now on to fax machines?

Japan's digital minister, Taro Kono, confirmed that the Japanese government has finally rid itself of floppy disks.

"We have won the war on floppy disks on June 28!" digital minister Taro Kono told Reuters on Wednesday.

Kono pledged in 2022 to eliminate law requiring floppy disks and CD-ROMs when sending data to the Japanese government. However, the decommissioning of the relic took another year and a half to be announced.

As of a few weeks ago, Japan's Digital Agency had removed 1,034 regulations that governed their use, leaving only one that was related to vehicle recycling.

Although it may seem futuristic in some respects, Japan still has a penchant for old tech, and not just floppy disks. Items like cash payments and fax machines complicate its reputation as well as its desires to lead in the tech sphere.

The nation does appear to be having a reckoning with technology as its population decline and low birth rate has it turning to AI and digital tools to solve problems arising from the subsequent labor shortage.

Kono declaring victory over the retro squares comes as rumors swirl that he fancies himself the next president, who will be starting in September after the country's leadership election.

Local media noted that if he ran, it would be a rare instance of a minister challenging an incumbent head of the cabinet in the ruling party's presidential election.

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Before becoming digital minister, Kono served in roles such as Foreign Minister, Minister of Defense, and Minister for Administrative Reform and Regulatory Reform.

A YouGov study conducted in 2018 when Kono was Foreign Minister found that two-thirds of British children aged six to 18 didn't even know what a floppy disk is.

A video filmed around that time shows children speculating that they might be from outer space, or perhaps a Victorian artifact. ®

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