Japan's cybersecurity minister says he's never used a computer


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Facepalm: Have you ever exaggerated the extent of your knowledge to get a dream job? It seems that Yoshitaka Sakurada, a Japanese minister in charge of cybersecurity, might have. He recently admitted that despite his position, he’s never used a computer, and was bewildered by the concept of a USB drive.

Sakurada was last month promoted to cybersecurity and Olympics minister, a role that means he is responsible for overseeing cybersecurity preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.

At a parliamentary commission meeting yesterday, Sakurada faced a question from Masato Imai, an independent Lower House lawmaker, regarding his computer literacy. “I’ve been independent since I was 25 and have always directed my staff and secretaries to do that kind of thing,” Sakurada replied. “I’ve never used a computer!”

The minister also appeared confused when asked whether USB drives were used in Japan’s nuclear power facilities, and said he “doesn't know the details” when asked what cybersecurity measures were in place at the plants.

When questioned over how someone with such little knowledge of technology could be in charge of cybersecurity, Sakurada said there would be no problems as policy was decided broadly by a number of people in his office and the national government.

“It’s unbelievable that someone who has not touched computers is responsible for cybersecurity policies,” said Imai.

This isn’t new territory for Sakurada. He previously struggled to answer simple questions about the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. If only he knew how to look them up on Google.

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Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,982
Meh... actually, as someone totally ignorant, he's probably open to suggestions from the experts on his staff. As "head", he'd only he responsible for approving decisions already made by others.

What is generally dangerous, is when someone at the top has a little bit of knowledge - and therefore thinks they know better than the experts beneath them.


I really like Japan and the Japanese. That just took a hit.
Sakurada is the boss, the man for whom "the buck stops here', how can he possibly know which of the suggestions of his subordinates is worthwhile or personally contribute to policy when the man is baffled by a USB drive?


Posts: 1,237   +1,189
It's not about knowledge of the cyber-security per-se but the tactics in implementing a security.

Think of it as game designing. He designs the game and let the programmers and artists bring his design to life. He may never know a thing about programming or computer drawing, but he knows what he wants and let the others make his designs work. But he's in-charge of the working and outcome of the game.


Posts: 4,462   +6,653
Not that surprising, really. Japan's government and business sectors are are rife with nepotism and other forms of cronyism. The days when most of the executives worked their way up from the bottom has long since passed - it just took Japan a little longer to catch up with the rest of the world. In the US a two year business degree is worth more than five years on the job..you'll make manager long before some rank-and-file lifer.


Posts: 41   +11
I see it all the time in the private sector. There are many accountants in business that are also IT decision makers and worse still school librarians that are the head of IT.

Joe Blow

This guy is good. The best computer security is to not even use or have one. If you don't want the be spied on, keep them away from you.


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