If you look at Wikipedia’s English-language entry for Taro Kono, it describes the Japanese politician as having “developed a reputation as a political maverick.” So having assumed a new position as Japan’s Minister of Digital Affairs, you might expect him to be planning to shake things up, and indeed Kono has wasted no time with a bold proposal: no more floppy disks.
In a press conference held this week, Kono revealed the results of a review by Japan’s Digital Agency, the cabinet division he heads, of policy regulations within the Japanese government. The study found that there are roughly 1,900 ordinances that require the submission of applications or storing of data to be on some sort of physical storage medium.
In addition to floppy and optical disks, Kono says the study also found rules requiring the use of CD-ROMs, mini disks, and cassette tapes, prompting Kono to exasperatedly remark: “I’m not sure where people are even supposed to be able to buy floppy disks anymore.”
“These policies should be swiftly reconsidered,” Kono said, lamenting how the antiquated requirements are impeding the implementation of online and cloud-based systems, and called for revised regulations to be drafted within the year and presented to applicable government agencies for compliance.
It’s worth noting that while the study found nearly 1,900 instances in which such physical storage media is required, they don’t appear to be the sort of situations that most people are likely to encounter in their daily lives. Government offices aren’t asking people to file their tax return on floppy disks, or to register their car via cassette-recorded voice message. Instead, the physical-media requirements seem to be primarily related to business applications and government archiving, with businesses’ calls for modernization on the government’s part being part of what prompted the review.
Sources: Jiji via Yahoo! Japan News via Otakomu, Nihon Keizai Shimbun
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