A Japanese minister has declared “war” on outdated technologies, including the humble floppy disk, with the determined aim of leading the government into the digital age.
Nearly 2,000 government procedures still rely on business using the now obsolete storage devices.
Digital Affairs Minister Taro Kono said existing regulations would be updated to allow people to use online services.
He also hopes to eliminate the use of obsolete technologies such as CDs and MiniDiscs.
“We will quickly review these practices,” Kono told a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.
The minister said Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had offered his full support, according to reports in Japan.
“Where do you even buy a floppy disk these days?” Mr. Kono joked.
He also vowed to get rid of the fax machine during his speech.
He later tweeted, “There are about 1,900 government procedures that require [the] business community to use disks, i.e. floppy disks, CDs, MDs, to submit applications and other forms.
“(The) digital agency needs to change these regulations so you can use online.”
A committee found about 1,900 legislative, government and ministerial clauses stipulating that specific storage devices, including floppy disks, are used to do administrative applications and store data, reports the Japan Times.
The government is considering removing this requirement to reduce bureaucracy.
Any opposition from ministers or agencies would be “repelled”, Kono said.
Japanese tech giant Sony stopped production of floppy disks after 30 years in 2011.
But their legacy continues, with the square-shaped device still commonly used as a “save icon.”
Just six years ago it was revealed a system used to control some of America’s ballistic missiles and nuclear bombers was run from a 40-year-old computer using floppy disks.
An upgrade to a secure digital alternative was expected to be completed in 2017 to “address outdated concerns”, a Pentagon spokeswoman said.
“The system remains in use because, in short, it still works,” Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson said.
Meanwhile, original Andy Warhol artwork found on floppy disks in 2014 after being lost for three decades.