Japan’s newly appointed Minister for Cyber Security has revealed that he has never used a computer in his entire life.
Yoshitaka Sakurada, who is 68, told the Japanese parliament that he has ‘directed staff and secretaries to do that kind of thing’, adding that he has never used a computer.
While talking with lawmakers, he made comments indicating he has no idea what a USB port is.
The minister made the admission at a parliamentary committee meeting, when asked by an opposition lawmaker if he was computer literate.
‘I give instructions to my aide and so I don’t punch into a computer myself,’ he said. ‘But I am confident our work is flawless.’
When asked about the power grid and malware, Sakurada said USB was ‘basically never used’ in the utility systems, appearing to not know what it might be.
Lawmakers laughed at his replies, which were highlighted in Japanese media.
Ministers in Japan almost always get parliamentary questions in advance. Often their answers are based on briefings from ministry bureaucrats.
In Sakurada’s exchange, bureaucrats were seen rushing over to give him sheets of paper with information.
When asked by the lawmaker how someone lacking computer skills could be in charge of cyber security, Sakurada said policy was decided broadly by a number of people in his office and the national government (not only himself), and he was confident there would be no problems.
Sakurada is a graduate of Meiji University, who was first elected to parliament in 1996, representing Chiba prefecture, near Tokyo.