Japan’s government says goodbye to floppy disks

Floppy disks may seem like a relic from an ancient time of computers but there are still places and even governments in the world that still use them to run its most basic functions. Japan is no longer one of those countries.

Japan’s Digital Agency announced on Wednesday it has rid its use of outdated floppy disks to operate its government computer systems. The only system still in place that requires the use of floppy disks is an environmental system that monitors vehicle recycling, according to Reuters.

Digital Minister Taro Kono declared in a statement to the news agency, “We have won the war on floppy disks on June 28!” Presumably, the statement wasn’t printed on that annoying dot matrix printer paper with the edges that never tear straight.

Kono’s agency started his crusade against ‘90s era computer technology in 2022 shortly after his appointment to the Digital Agency. Around 1,900 of Japan’s government procedures used floppy disks and other outdated technology such as fax machines, CDs and MiniDiscs. He famously declared “a war on floppy discs [sic]” to his 2.5 million followers on X.

Of course, Japan isn’t the only country that used to rely on floppy disks long after the rest of the world moved on to more efficient forms of data storage. The US military was still using 8-inch floppy disks to operate its Strategic Automated Command and Control System (SACCS), a 1970s computer system that received nuclear launch codes and sent emergency messages to military centers and field sources. The world learned the scary truth about SACCS thanks to CBS’s 60 Minutes and reporter Lesley Stahl. The Defense Department finally phased out the system in 2019. Let’s hope they also removed the shag carpeting and velvet upholstery.

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