Another side of Japan that is little talked about is the refusal to use technology. Surely you must be surprised by this statement. After all, one of the most widespread images of the country is that everything there has robots, lots of artificial intelligence, etc.
However, there are many places that this technology cannot enter. And this has caused big problems for the Japanese government and also for companies. After all, many technological improvements have a mission to help us and with that we can produce more.
Here are some examples of how a part of Japan refuses to use technology and how this has been an additional expense for the country.
The other side of Japan
A prefectural official in western Yamaguchi prefecture carried a floppy disk containing account information for 463 residents to a local bank. He intended to transfer payments to residents.
But somewhere between the employee’s instructions and the bank’s processing of the transaction, there was a miscommunication. Instead of 463 residents receiving their payments, only one resident received a single payment for all residents. At the moment you might even think he was lucky, but no. After all, misappropriating something that was given to you by accident is also a crime. That is, he received the value and a headache.
Such a mishap might be understandable had it occurred in the 1980s, when personal computers and memory devices were emerging. But this happened in Japan in 2022…
And most impressively, the payment information was on a floppy disk.
Incidents like these are reminders of the state of digital dysfunction in Japan. Once known as a technological powerhouse, Japan has lagged behind in the global wave of digital transformation.
In addition, there is still a lot of paper usage in Japan which makes it possible to even lose them as there are a greater number of errors.
Investments in digital technology have been slow since the 1990s, as many companies fear potential downsides such as data and security breaches. Floppy disks and fax machines may be out of date, but they do not use online networks and cannot be hacked.
The other side of Japan and the lack of manpower in IT
A survey of Japanese companies carried out by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication highlighted staff shortages in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector as a key factor behind the delay in advancing digital transformation.
This is a supply-side problem. In 2018, Japan’s ICT staff shortage totaled approximately 220,000. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) estimates that the shortage will get worse and increase to 450,000 workers by 2030.
One of the factors for this to happen is that in Japan the vacancies for IT are not very attractive. Salaries are not as good as in other first world countries, such as the US which pays more than twice as much.
Source: Asia Times and Suki Dessu.