Says tree-based physical media is “easier” in certain situation.

With titles that include Minister in Charge of Information Technology Policy and Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy, you’d expect Japanese politician Takuya Hirai to be a pretty high-tech guy, and in some ways he is. For example, the Liberal Democratic Party representative from Kagawa Prefecture was the first cabinet minister to use a tablet for his reference notes while making a statement to the assembled members of the Diet, as Japan’s parliament is known (he was also the first politician to get in trouble for watching videos he shouldn’t have during a Diet session).

So some people were surprised on Wednesday when the 62-year-old Hirai made a statement directly defending many Japanese politicians’ aversion to giving up physical media in one situation. When asked by other members of his party why more ministers don’t use tablets when delivering addresses to the Diet, Hirai said:

“To be honest, it’s actually easier and lighter to use paper when delivering an address than it is to use a tablet.”

▼ Takuya Hirai, making the above statement

Hirai’s explanation elicited some exasperated sighs from Twitter commenters, such as:

“Please stop talking.”
“Old people say things like that because they aren’t used to using digital devices.”
“LOL at the guy whose nickname is ‘Digital Minister.’”

However, not everyone was ready to roast Hirai for his accepting stance on politicians working off of sheets of paper in 2020, with many other commenters saying he’s got a point.

“It is kind of funny to hear someone in his position say that, but everything depends on the situation. You can’t just say that paper is always bad.”
“I’ve had business clients say the same thing to me.”
“Tablets are heavy to hold in your hand while you’re talking, so I can understand his opinion…paper is still quicker to use for simple references than fiddling around with an electronic document.”
“Electronic notepads with styluses were supposed to be the next big thing for a while, but paper notepads really are easier to use.”
“PDFs are janky pains in the butt and tablets get heavy to hold. If you want people to stop using paper, you have to fix those two problems first.”
“If you’re just using two or three pages of notes, paper is easier, and if you’ve got 200, a tablet is better.”

It’s worth keeping in mind that Hirai was specifically talking about politicians making addresses during Diet sessions, which would imply that they’ve already done their research prior to taking the podium, and thus should be familiar enough with the subject that they don’t need extensive reference documents on that particular day. Still, coming just over a month after the entirely analog meeting of the Japanese government’s Digitalization Promotion team, it’s another example of Japan’s reluctance to transition to a completely digital style.

Sources: FNN Prime Online via Hachima Kiko, Twitter
Top image: Pakutaso
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