Japan’s cyber-security minister says he ‘never used computer’

Published November 16, 2018
In this October 2, file photo, Japan's Minister in Charge of Tokyo Olympics Yoshitaka Sakurada arrives at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo. Sakurada, also the minister in charge of cybersecurity, is in the spotlight for acknowledging he had never used a computer and making comments showing he had no idea what a USB port might be. — AP
In this October 2, file photo, Japan's Minister in Charge of Tokyo Olympics Yoshitaka Sakurada arrives at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo. Sakurada, also the minister in charge of cybersecurity, is in the spotlight for acknowledging he had never used a computer and making comments showing he had no idea what a USB port might be. — AP

TOKYO: A Japanese minister in charge of cyber security has provoked astonishment by admitting he has never used a computer in his professional life, and appearing confused by the concept of a USB drive.

Yoshitaka Sakurada, 68, is the deputy chief of the government’s cyber security strategy office and also the minister in charge of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that Tokyo will host in 2020.

In parliament on Wednes­day however, he admitted he doesn’t use computers.

“Since the age of 25, I have instructed my employees and secretaries, so I don’t use computers myself,” he said in a response to an opposition question in a lower hou­se session, local media reported.

He also appeared confused by the question when asked about whether USB drives were in use at Japanese nuclear facilities. His comments were met with incredulity by opposition lawmakers.

“It’s unbelievable that someone who has not touched computers is responsible for cyber security policies,” said opposition lawmaker Masato Imai. And his comments provoked a firestorm online. “Doesn’t he feel ashamed?” wrote one Twitter user.

“Today any company president uses a PC. He doesn’t even know what a USB is.”

“Holy cow.” Another joked that perhaps Sakurada was simply engaged in his own kind of cyber security. “If a hacker targets this Minister Sakurada, they wouldn’t be able to steal any information”.

“Indeed it might be the strongest kind of security!”

Sakurada has been in office just over a month, after being appointed in a cabinet reshuffle following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reelection as head of his political party.

But he has already come fire for other gaffes in parliament including garbling an opposition lawmaker’s name and repeatedly stating “I don’t know the details” when questioned about his new Olympic brief.

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2018

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