Japan Bids Adieu to Floppy Disks in Official Paperwork Evolution

Japan Bids Adieu to Floppy Disks in Official Paperwork Evolution

Official Documents Go Diskless, Embrace Digital Era

Japan has built a reputation as a high-tech pioneer across industries from robotics to gaming. Yet when it comes to its own government operations, the wheels of technological progress turn extremely slowly. Agencies still require businesses to submit data on antiquated floppy disks and CD-ROMs to comply with certain regulations.

But change finally appears on the horizon thanks to reform efforts spearheaded by Digital Affairs Minister Taro Kono in 2022. He urged departments to modernize outdated physical media mandates that seem laughably obsolete in 2023.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) recently became one of the first to answer Kono’s call. After this year, METI will no longer force companies to provide information on floppy disks for 34 different regulatory ordinances. Similar phase-outs of CD-ROM requirements are also forthcoming.


Japan Bids Adieu to Floppy Disks in Official Paperwork Evolution


The push towards more sensible digital data protocols aims to benefit both government and industry. For agencies, processing online documents enhances efficiency compared to physical handling. And for enterprises, migrating to modern formats eliminates the hassle of locating antiquated media.

In Sony’s case, the last floppy disk manufacturer exited the business back in 2011. So continuing to source the tech in 2023 can be a challenge. Plus, many modern data file types simply overwhelm the tiny 1.4MB capacity on a single floppy.

While METI’s policy update doesn’t completely erase reliance on this outdated tech, it moves Japan one step closer toward catching its government administrative practices up with its reputation as an innovation leader. Other departments would be wise to follow suit. The sooner the final floppy disk spins to a stop on a bureaucrat’s desk, the better for all involved.