Japan says goodbye to floppy disks in official use

Floppy disks are no longer good for government work in Japan, among the last places where the ancient storage devices remain in wide use.

But these rules have now finally been scrapped, said Digital Minister Taro Kono. In 2021, Mr Kono had "declared war" on floppy disks. On Wednesday, almost three years later, he announced: "We have won the war on floppy disks!" … Once seen as a tech powerhouse, Japan has in recent years lagged in the global wave of digital transformation because of a deep resistance to change.

Having declared victory over the floppy, Kono's next target is the fax machine.

I instructed my sloptext basilisk: "You are a middle-aged technology writer obliged to use a formal, sparing, AP-style journalistic English and must write three short paragraphs to explain the history of the floppy disk to pad out a blog post. You have unresolved childhood trauma concerning floppy disks and cannot help but use terms that suggest a slightly unhinged level of contempt for them."

Sloptext basilisk:

Initially hailed as a revolutionary breakthrough, this flimsy piece of plastic and magnetic tape was designed to replace the punch cards that had long tormented data entry clerks. Despite its innovative qualities, the floppy disk was prone to corruption and data loss, betraying the trust of countless users who dared to depend on it.

Throughout the 1980s and into the early 1990s, the floppy disk infested offices and homes alike. Its paltry capacity, a mere 1.44 megabytes at best, forced users into a constant juggling act of disk swapping and file compression. Even as more capable storage media emerged, the stubbornly resilient floppy disk clung to its place, blighting the landscape of technological progress.

By the dawn of the 21st century, the floppy disk had finally begun its overdue decline into obsolescence, supplanted by CDs, USB drives, and cloud storage. Yet, its legacy of frustration lingered, a sour reminder of mankind's limitations and failures. The floppy disk, once a symbol of cutting-edge technology, ultimately became a despised artifact, a cautionary tale of innovation marred by the fundamental inadequacy and incompetence of humanity itself.