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Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry finally stops using floppy disks

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

With such broad and important spheres of society under its jurisdiction, you’d be correct in assuming that Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has a lot of information it needs to organize and maintain. So it’s reassuring to know that a recent revision to the ministry’s protocols is going to undeniably modernize its operations. That doesn’t mean that the new regulations allow for cutting-edge advancements in IT, however, just that the ministry is finally abolishing the required use of antiquated forms of physical media.

You may recall that back at the start of September in 2022, Taro Kono, head of Japan’s Digital Agency Cabinet sub-division, pleaded with the various branches of the government to identify and revise ordinances that specify outdated physical media forms for certain types of applications, reporting, and record-keeping. The wheels of government tend to turn especially slowly in Japan, though, and it’s only recently that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has gotten around to doing so in earnest, though.

On Monday, METI, as the ministry is also known, announced that as of the end of the 2023 calendar year it had removed 34 ordinances requiring floppy disks to be the method used for submission of data to the ministry, and an unspecified number of ordinances saying that CD-ROMs must be used.

The abolished floppy disk/CD-ROM requirements stretched back several decades, and they weren’t limited to quaint, non-sensitive parts of society either, as the ordinances were related to fields such as gas, electricity, and water supply, mining operations, and aircraft and weapons manufacturing.

The push to end the use of floppy disks within government agencies stems, of course, from two major problems. The first is that a physical media requirement reduces the ability to submit and share data online, hampering operational efficiency and complicating the process of revising or updating the information. Second, it’s extremely difficult to even find floppy disks for sale anymore, as they’ve essentially disappeared from the consumer market.

In his 2022 statement, Kono said that his staff had found approximately 1,900 government ordinances, across a variety of ministries, requiring the use of physical media for data storage. So there’s probably still a long ways to go, but at least METI has started the process.

Source: Impress Watch via Hachima Kiko, Nihon Keizai Shimbun

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© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Security-wise it was probably a good idea as nobody else would be able to read them.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

I think I saw a program that said US nuclear missiles were using floppy disks. This was about 2010.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

finally stops using floppy disks

But they still can keep and using their fax machines right, that's pretty fair deal.

-12 ( +5 / -17 )

ordinances requiring floppy disks to be the method used for submission of data to the ministry, and an unspecified number of ordinances saying that CD-ROMs must be used.

Those people never hear cloud technologies, that's true dinosaur.

-18 ( +2 / -20 )

They can go ahead switch to their flash drives if they like, but mine will always be 5 1/4 inches and still floppy.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Are those 5.25 in floppies in the photo? If so, they are probably in some strange Japanese format like 640kb or 1.2Mb with a non-standard number of sectors.

The US was using 8in floppy disk to control its ICBM system until 2019. I am sure I read they had them specially made as no manufacturer was still producing them commercially.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Kono Taro, according to his wishes.

Just found them in a recycling shop.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

next step faxes,expect some decade or so...

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

This means some higher up dinosaur just retired. Regardless, we should praise the ministry so that they'll feel motivated to do more improvements.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Better late than never as they say in Sid' s Cafe.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

It will be a while before USB memory sticks are adopted, a former Vice Minister for CyberSecurity had never seen one!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Finally upgrading from Windows 98, the last version available on floppy disc?. I wonder if they will upgrade to windows 2000 or perhaps Windows XP?

This really is a sad situation and shows some elements of government at least have failed miserably to keep pace with technology and standard business practices.

Floppy disc had standard storage of a whopping 1.4MB or 2.8MB max. How many discs to store 1 GB of data? Who is going to transfer that now to ssd's? It could take years.

What a nightmare, one they no doubt recognized and put off for as long as possible. Now they have little choice and the expense will be significant.

0 ( +2 / -2 )


-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Didn't know they were using them, LOL

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I still have got floppy disk from 25 years ago in which I've kept my essays, poems, lyrics and some childhood pictures. I really would like to see it again what I wrote, how pictures looked like.

I need to find the company in Japan or UK that can able to solve the issue.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Better late than never.

On a serious note the obsolescence of information recording and archiving technology is a serious problem that is becoming more and more evident along with the stability and corruption of archived data on electronic media.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Oh no where will it end, fax machines next! I don't think I've even seen a fax machine since the early 2000's and as for floppy discs that was so last century. At work we use a VPN and company based server and fingerprint enabled USB's for personnel office storage.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

I remember the 128MB floppies. A big thing then. I have boxes of floppies in a box somewhere.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I remember floppy disks with my mass balance text books on the Chem Eng degree. Funny cuz no one had a computer then. lol.!.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

What's next?? They'll stop using Fax machines?

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Cassette tapes still being using in Japan!

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

I still have got floppy disk from 25 years ago

Hard Off still sells the drives in the ジャンク section. I wisely transferred my data to Sony Memory Sticks some years ago.

Failing that, just pop down to your local METI office as it sounds like they are having a clearout.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The symbol for the disc is still used. You click it to save a file all of the time.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Careful with those unless you are knowledgeable enough to test them properly.

Fine, then buy a guaranteed one on Amazon or a slightly less guaranteed one on Mercari. They'll be selling them for years to come.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Very retro

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The lady in the pic looks truly horrified. The disks she seems to be fretting over are not actually the floppy type. Their predecessor was where the floppiness was at.

And this being Japan, she is probably wondering how she is suppose to fax a floppy disk and hanko to lots of out of touch old men because Japan is sooo useless.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Cassette tapes still being using in Japan!

They are regaining popularity like vinyl records. I recently saw a collectors magazine devoted to them in book shop.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Please join the year 2024. It’s not as bad as you might think. Don’t stay in the dark corners of the past.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's many years since I have used disks. Have a player but not used. I use USB memory sticks or flash drives which also work on my iPad and iPhone.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Thanks Roy and ClippetyClop.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

i laughed out loud when i saw the headline for this article. But at the same time not surprised in 2024 that the government still uses floppy disks ( and the computers that can use them). I haven't even seen a CD player in years even most game systems don't use cartridges or CDs most things are digital. In the this day and age people government or otherwise using such old tech is mind blowing

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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