The Japanese government has decided to stop using floppy disks and CD-ROMs

IBM began using floppy disks in 1973, and this type of removable storage media eventually became so popular that Japanese government agencies instituted a rule that over time floppy disks Submit data on and submit data on CD-ROM. Apparently, that rule is still in effect, so Japanese officials have been using floppy disks and CD-ROMs rather than email or cloud storage services to submit data.

"Where else can you buy floppy disks?" According to the Nikkei, Japan's digital affairs minister Taro Kono asked reporters on Tuesday. "We will change [these rules] immediately."

 Currently, Japanese law contains 1900 provisions requiring the use of obsolete storage media to transfer data, such as 3.5-inch floppy disks or CD-ROMs. Digitization will make Japanese government agencies more efficient overall, as the Internet transfers files faster. However, like other authorities, Japanese government agencies must strictly abide by the rules, so the Japanese government set up a working group to revise the rules established decades ago.

Not only are floppy disks hard to get these days (because few manufacturers make them anymore), but it's also very hard to use them to store anything because modern text and spreadsheet files require more space than they did in the 1980s and 1990s. There are still some applications that rely on file formats (or even software) released 30 or 40 years ago - so can be stored on floppy disks and/or CD-ROMs - but the world mainstream has moved to USB flash drives, Blu-ray discs, cloud storage services that are larger, more efficient, and more reliable.

Some industries also use floppy disks and will continue to use them. For example, some Boeing 747-400 aircraft use 3.5-inch floppy disks to install avionics software. In addition, some military equipment and departments (such as the nuclear forces) continued to use not only 8-inch floppy disks, but even punched cards.

With thousands of laws still requiring the use of floppy disks or CD-ROMs, we think it will take quite some time for obsolete storage media to disappear. Now, even on a Windows 11 computer, for $20, one can still buy and use an external 3.5-inch floppy disk reader, although it does require special drivers from Microsoft.

Post a Comment