Japanese government declares ‘all out war’ on ancient floppy disk technology

Home to robots, Playstation, and talking toilets, Japan is undoubtedly one of the most technologically advanced nations on the planet.

However, that advanced technology isn't evenly distributed, it seems.

Many businesses and government offices are still using outdated gadgets such as floppy disks, fax machines, and even hand-carved stamps to get things done.

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Now Japan's newly-appointed Digital Minister, Taro Kono, has declared 'war' against the ancient technology which fell out of use decades ago in the rest of the world.

Kono has vowed to rid the government of the 50-year-old technology and wants to modernise how people in Japan fill in important forms.

The leading manufacturers of the floppy disk, including Sony, stopped producing them 11 years ago, but the disks are reportedly still necessary for 1900 government processes.

Kono has previously said: "I want to get rid of the fax machine, and I still intend to do so."

Younger readers might be interested to know what a floppy disk actually is. Outside of Japan, it is an ancient technology probably only known to the most silver of surfers and Baby Boomers.

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The biggest floppy disks could store around 1.44 MB of data, which is something like 1/28th of a single photo on an iPhone.

Floppy disks were commonly used before the dawn of CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, and later, memory sticks and flash storage.

Meanwhile, a fax machine was sort of like texting through a printer. You could scan in physical documents and then send them over the phone to someone else, who would then print them off on the other side. Sort of like a really bad Snapchat.

(When I say phone, I mean landline, because it was generally used before we even had mobile phones.)


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