The Japanese actively use floppy disks, and the authorities are trying to fight it. Why?

  • September 3, 2022

Japan is generally considered to be one of the most technologically advanced countries. However, it is easy to doubt this judgment – one has only to encounter the Japanese bureaucracy once. Right now in the Land of the Rising Sun there are about 1900 state procedures, applications and documents for which are accepted exclusively on floppy disks, CDs and other obsolete media.

This state of affairs outrages the Japanese themselves, but the bureaucratic machine is not so easy to budge. The head of Japan’s Digital Reform Ministry, Taro Kono, has taken it upon himself to bring about a solution to the problem and has already secured the support of the prime minister. It is planned to completely abandon 3.5-inch floppy disks only by 2026.


Floppy disks, by the way, are far from the only archaic used in Japanese government agencies. In some departments, faxes are still in use, and to open a bank account, a physical seal is needed at all, which is made for each person individually.

Thanks to the efforts of people like Taro Kono, Japan is slowly but surely moving away from the old principles. In the near future, the Japanese authorities plan to completely switch to electronic document management and create a single national identifier MyNumber, with the help of which many issues can be resolved via the Internet.

“ Where can you even buy a floppy disk these days? “: joked Kono when he brought this issue up for discussion. Recall that the first 3.5-inch floppy disk saw the world in 1981, and for more than 20 years remained the main carrier of digital data in the world. Diskettes began to be abandoned in the 2000s – the first to do so were Dell and Apple.