Japan cyber security minister: I don't use computers

Mr Yoshitaka Sakurada, in Parliament on Wednesday, also appeared confused by the concept of a USB drive.
Mr Yoshitaka Sakurada, in Parliament on Wednesday, also appeared confused by the concept of a USB drive.

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

Mr 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 said he does not 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.

He also appeared confused by the question when asked 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 Mr Sakurada's 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. "

Mr Sakurada has been in office for just over a month, after being appointed in a Cabinet reshuffle following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's re-election as head of his political party.

But Mr Sakurada has already come under 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.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2018, with the headline 'Japan cyber security minister: I don't use computers'. Subscribe