In Brief

Japan’s new cybersecurity minister has never used a computer

Yoshitaka Sakurada says ‘secretaries and employees handle such tasks’

Japanese lawmakers have reacted with incredulity after it the country’s new cyber security minister admitted that he did not use a computer.

Yoshitaka Sakurada was named deputy chief of the government’s cybersecurity strategy office last month. However, taking questions from fellow lawmakers during a House of Representatives committee meeting, he made an astonishing admission.

The 68-year-old minister said he had never used a computer, explaining that “since I was 25 I have been in a position of authority where secretaries and employees handle such tasks for me”.

When pressed on how he would be able to protect Japan from cyber-attacks, Sakurada said “policy was decided broadly by a number of people in his office and the national government, and he was confident there would be no problems”, the Asahi Shimbun reports.

He also appeared confused when asked about the security of USB drives held at nuclear facilities, to the point that “lawmakers reportedly laughed at his replies, which were broadcast live on national TV”, says CNBC.

His lack of computer literacy has baffled and appalled many Japanese, including the parliamentary colleague who quizzed Sakurada on his computer experience.

“It’s shocking to me that someone who hasn’t even touched computers is responsible for dealing with cybersecurity policies,” said Democratic Party representative Masato Imai.

After spending 22 years in Japan’s parliament without a cabinet brief, last month Sakurada was appointed as both deputy chief of cybersecurity and minister in charge of delivering the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

In addition to his cyber-gaffes, Sakurada’s performance in his other portfolio has hardly been more satisfactory, says the Asahi Shimbun.

In one committee meeting, he mistakenly told ministers the Olympics would cost Japan 1,500 yen (£10.31) rather than the actual figure of 150 billion yen (£1bn). “During news conferences for the Olympics he has often simply answered: "I don't know’,” the newspaper adds.

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