Floppy disks, which were once the mainstay of offices during the 1980s and the 1990s, are now a remnant of the past. But Japan is now slowly but finally getting rid of them due to a plan spearheaded by several administrative regions in Tokyo, including the Meguro district.
This is done to cut storage costs; the move will also help modernize Japan’s government systems. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed how outdated and sluggish the country’s administrative services were. As of May, the healthcare facilities used the fax machine to report daily COVID-19-related cases for the government. After a doctor scolded the Japanese health ministry and this practice, it finally became online.
Yoichi Ono, who is the account manager for Tokyo’s Meguro district, claimed that the district continued to use the devices even after they were abandoned by the public “because it’s what we’ve been using since long ago.”
“We’ve not had any issue about it and so continued using the floppies,” Ono told VICE World News. In the Meguro district, the floppies are used to keep details about payment for the district’s public funds.
Although it’s a technological powerhouse, Japan’s information systems are infamously outdated. Traditional methods of processing data and worries about cybersecurity have hindered the country’s ability to adopt advanced technology.
Alongside fax machines, hard copies of documents are commonplace in Japan. Hanko seals, which are personal to the individual, are mandatory for various government documents. Following criticisms that the tradition was outdated in the past year, the former Japanese Prime Minister called on municipalities to eliminate the custom. It is reported that the Swiss Business School IMD is ranked Japan as 28th among 64 countries in terms of digital competitiveness.
The move to eliminate Floppy disks in the district of Ono was initiated after Mizuho bank began charging the city with 50000 yen($440) per month to store physical devices, such as Floppy disks.
The district is planning to go completely digital before March, Ono said. Ono stated that he has no regret about ditching the durable Floppy disks.
Source: Vice/Hanako Montgomery
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