The Japanese government is slowly moving into the current age of technology, where it's finally starting to change: the Japanese government will soon no longer require businesses to provide information on floppy disks (yes, the 1.44MB floppy disks from the 90s) and CD-ROMs.
This started back in 2022, when the Minister of Digital Affairs, Taro Kono, pushed various branches of the Japanese government to stop requiring businesses to send information to the government on physical media that is far, far outdated... like floppy disks and CDs.
Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) was one of the first to switch from physical media, with METI announcing last week: "Under the current law, there are many provisions stipulating the use of specific recording media such as floppy disks regarding application and notification methods".
Once this calendar year wraps up, METI will no longer require businesses to submit official documents on floppy disks under 34 ordinances. At the same time, CD-ROMs are also included in this move for an unspecified number of procedures. This isn't a full shift away from floppy disks and CDs, but it's a step in the right direction, considering it's 2024 and all.
Kono and his staff found around 1900 protocols across multiple government departments that still require older physical media like floppy disks, CD-ROMs, and even MiniDisks. Multiple key industries were sending in physical media under the requirements of the Japanese government, including energy companies, mining operations, and even aircraft and weapons manufacturers.
Why is the Japanese government moving away from physical media after these strict requirements? SoraNews24 reports that one of the main reasons is that floppy disks aren't easy to purchase any more... but they also only hold 1.44MB of data, which is nothing. 1.44MB won't fit many files, but when you're talking photos... it's not even enough for a single photo with 1.44MB of available space on a floppy disk.
Sony was the last company making floppy disks, one of the last major manufacturers of 1.44MB floppy disks, and stopped selling them in 2011... some 13 years ago now. Other file and data types won't even fit on a floppy disk, especially as we have USB flash drives with hundreds of gigabytes of space, even terabytes on a single device, much smaller than a floppy disk.
There will still be multiple industries that will continue to rely on floppy disks, with older planes using them for avionics, as well as some older medical devices. The world of floppy disks is still large, as it's also much more secure than a USB drive (and then USB ports on a computer, which are easy to hack). The US government only stopped using floppy disks back in 2019, as it used 1.44MB floppy disks to coordinate nuclear weapons launches; yeah... floppy disks powering nuclear bombs.