Written by 19:27 World

Japan Finally Phases Out Floppy Disks

Japan scrapped every regulation requiring the use of floppy disks for administrative purposes this week, catching up with the times 13 years after the country’s producers manufactured their last units.

The floppy disk, invented in the 1970s, was once a ubiquitous part of computing. Other forms of memory like flash drives and internet cloud storage have since taken over. In the 1990s, along with the cassette tape, it was inching toward the dustbin of outdated tech.

But not in Japan. While renowned for its consumer electronics giants, robots and some of the world’s fastest broadband networks, the country has also been wedded to floppy disks and other old technologies like fax machines and cash.

Japan began moving away from the 20th-century storage devices, magnetic disks encased in plastic, just two years ago, when Taro Kono, the country’s digital minister, declared a “war on floppy disks.”

When he encountered an image of a highway billboard for an American cancer clinic that read, “If you know what a floppy disk is it may be time for your cancer screening,” Mr. Kono responded on social media: “No, not necessarily in Japan.”

In the southern town of Tsuwano, officials in the accounting department replaced its stack of floppy disks only in April 2023, according to Nobuyuki Koto, one of the officials.

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Last modified: 6 July 2024
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