Japan's minister, Yoshitaka Sakurada, is in charge of cybersecurity. However he is now in the spotlight for admitting that he has never used a computer. He has also made comments acknowledging that he has “no idea what a USB port might be.”
The 68-year-old Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker, also in charge of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, replied to questions from independent and opposition legislators on Wednesday.
"I give instructions to my aide and so I don't punch into a computer myself," Sakurada said. "But I am confident our work is flawless."
When asked about the power grid and malware of cybersecurity, Sakurada said USB was "basically never used" in the utility systems. This appears to show that he does not know what a USB port is.
Lawmakers laughed at Sakurada, and Japanese media had a frenzy. The questioning in Parliament were carried live on national TV.
Ministers in Japan almost always get parliamentary questions in advance. Often, their answers are based on briefings from ministry bureaucrats. In Sakurada's case, the live stream showed bureaucrats rushing over to give him sheets of paper. Most likely with helpful information. Although Sakurda couldn’t be helped.
Ministers are tapped by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Sakurada was named to his position in the latest Cabinet reshuffle last month.
Although the minister is not expected to have much hands-on responsibility in the handling of either cybersecurity or the Olympics, Sakurada's high-profile bungling is said to be an embarrassment for Shinzo Abe.
Sakurada, a graduate of Meiji University, was first elected to parliament in 1996, to represent Chiba prefecture, near Tokyo.
"There is no genius that surpasses effort," is Sakurada’s favorite motto. He pushes for Japan's economic prosperity and supporting its culture. Hopefully, he will find a way to intertwine the current-day use of technology into his efforts.