September 25, 2022
Tokyo — With its azure ocean perspectives and terraced rice paddies, the town of Hamada,

Tokyo — With its azure ocean perspectives and terraced rice paddies, the town of Hamada, inhabitants 50,000, is some distance from Japan’s primary city facilities of Tokyo and Osaka. However Hamada isn’t any virtual slouch. Identical to towns in different complicated countries, Hamada collects taxes, medical insurance premiums and social safety contributions from citizens’ financial institution accounts via sending bill orders on-line to native monetary establishments.

However in some respects, Hamada’s transactions are a throwback to the 20 th century. Certainly one of 8 native banks the town management does enterprise with insists that cost directions be passed over bodily, on floppy disks. Here is what a floppy disk seems like, for somebody underneath a undeniable age:

JAPAN-COMPUTERS-DISC-DRIVE
A report picture displays a lady maintaining a brand new Fujifilm 200MB capability 3.5″ floppy disk and pressure on the corporate’s place of business in Tokyo, January 28, 2000.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty


The mylar-coated magnetic disks invented via IBM in 1967 have in large part been consigned to museums within the evolved international. They have compatibility an insignificant megabyte of knowledge — sufficient for a couple of seconds of video.

“Floppy disk manufacturing ended 10 years in the past, and now we have instructed that financial institution to log on,” a spokeswoman for the town’s accounting division informed CBS Information. “However they dangle to their outdated gadget.”

Even one of the banks that experience long gone virtual, she stated, nonetheless be expecting all transactions to be showed via fax. (If you are no longer acquainted with floppy disks, fax machines are… smartly, they are even older.)

PERSON USING FAX MACHINE IN DETAIL
Document picture of an individual the use of a fax gadget.

iStock/Getty


However amid the power to transport into the twenty first century, Hamada isn’t on my own. A survey previous this yr via the San-in Chuo Shimpo newspaper discovered that Hamada was once amongst 9 cities in Shimane Prefecture nonetheless the use of floppies. All informed, greater than 1/2 of the localities in Shimane and in neighboring Tottori, each west of Tokyo, nonetheless use floppy disks.

The cities’ adherence to a half-century-old information garage approach displays the bizarre endurance of out of date generation in Japan. And the Luddism is rarely restricted to the some distance corners of the rustic.

The Nikkei monetary newspaper reported that a few of Tokyo’s 23 wards are halfway via virtual conversions, hastened via primary banks charging stiff dealing with charges for hardware-based transactions.

A gross sales clerk at Seiwa Electrical, an equipment store in western Tokyo packed to the gills with the latest-model fridges, washing machines and air conditioners, confirmed CBS Information certainly one of their hottest-selling merchandise: A Panasonic fax gadget that retails for $189.

“Seniors find it irresistible,” she stated. “They are able to order mikan oranges from the farm and use the instrument to make copies.”

The store nonetheless will get quite a lot of mileage out of its personal fax gadget, too, as a result of a few of its providers merely dislike doing enterprise on-line.

The reluctance to phase with outdated {hardware} illustrates the hindrances for Japan’s Virtual Company, which was once established precisely three hundred and sixty five days in the past this month. Led via top ministerial aspirant and outspoken Virtual Minister Taro Kono, the company is combating to consign the floppy disk, along side different {hardware} like CD-ROMs, DVDs and USB drives, to the dustbin.

Kono stated a overview discovered with regards to 2,000 executive procedures nonetheless require business-related programs to be submitted on floppy disks or different bodily media. Amongst different issues, Japan’s foot-dragging within the virtual shift is hindering adoption of a countrywide virtual ID gadget, and degrading office potency.

Floppies and different garage {hardware} stay so pervasive on the earth’s third-largest financial system that they have got even featured in some notorious circumstances, akin to remaining yr, when the Tokyo Metropolitan Police misplaced two floppy disks containing non-public information on 38 males who had been making use of for public housing.

In June, a contractor for the town of Amagasaki, in western Japan, went on an after-work bender. When he got here to, in the street, his bag — containing USB flash drives with information on with regards to 1/2 one million citizens, together with their checking account main points — was once long gone. The USBs grew to become up later at an rental advanced.

That was once in a while after town of Abu received notoriety for mistakenly sending its whole COVID reduction fund to a 24-year-old resident remaining spring.

That switch was once despatched digitally. However there was once a floppy disk backup. 

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