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Japan government breaks away from using floppy disks

TOKYO >> Japan’s government has finally eliminated the use of floppy disks in all its systems, two decades since their heyday, reaching a long-awaited milestone in a campaign to modernize the bureaucracy.

By mid-June, the Digital Agency had scrapped all 1,034 regulations governing their use, except for one environmental stricture related to vehicle recycling.

“We have won the war on floppy disks on June 28!” Digital Minister Taro Kono, who has been vocal about wiping out fax machines and other analog technology in government, told Reuters in a statement July 3.

The Digital Agency was set up during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, when a scramble to roll out nationwide testing and vaccination revealed that the government still relied on paper filing and outdated technology.

But Japan’s digitization effort has run into numerous snags. A contact-­tracing app flopped during the pandemic, and adoption of the government’s My Number digital identification card has been slower than it hoped, amid repeated data mishaps.

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