Sunday, August 14

The Tokyo government is ditching floppy disks to manage its data. Yes now

In Tokyo they want to catch up by digitizing the data that their government manages, and therefore they are going to leave behind physical data carriers that they still used. What supports? Well, 3.5-inch floppy disks or ‘floppy disks’. No, it is not news from twenty years ago: it’s happening in the fall of 2021.

The resistance to adopt new supports, God level

Downtown Tokyo in Japan. The city is so big that it has special regions and governments.

The change is being gradual and varies between the special regions of the city (the equivalent of our districts). The Minato region started doing it in 2019, but the Chiyoda region is doing it during these months and wants to finish before 2022.

This is not happening now for a pure matter of modernization: it is done reluctantly because there are no more floppy disks available. Sony was the main supplier of these discs and stopped making them ten years ago, but the administrations of the metropolis had a good reserve and they did not stop reusing them.

The cost of migrating to newer systems was putting the decision on hold, and the staff are so used to using these drives that they are now facing abysmal change. But they have no choice: now keep the floppy disks It involved paying fees of about 380 euros per month to certain banks, which have to receive and manage the data on those disks on their own.

Migrating towards being fully digital will also save a lot of paperwork that relied on physical paper reports, something that is still very present in the Japanese bureaucracy. Some special regions of Tokyo are dated 2026 to go fully digital and rely on more modern systems – we’ll have to see if they succeed. Perhaps they can ask the United States for advice, which until two years ago used 8-inch floppy disks for your nuclear arsenal. Or to Boeing, who still uses them to update your 747.

Images | Fernando Lavin and Ryo Yoshitake