National / Politics

‘I don’t use computers,’ Japan’s minister in charge of cybersecurity tells Diet

Kyodo, Staff Report

The minister in charge of cybersecurity said he doesn’t use computers.

Yoshitaka Sakurada, who just last week was criticized for stumbling over basic questions during Diet deliberations, found himself once again in hot water Wednesday after making it known that he doesn’t use them even though he is a deputy head of the government panel on cybersecurity and is tasked with overseeing policies on such matters.

During a Lower House Cabinet Committee meeting, Sakurada, who is also the minister in charge of the Olympics, said: “I don’t use computers because since I was 25 I have been in a position of authority where secretaries and employees handle such tasks for me.”

Sakurada was answering questions posed by Masato Imai, an independent Lower House lawmaker.

“It’s shocking to me that someone who hasn’t even touched computers is responsible for dealing with cybersecurity policies,” Imai said.

Sakurada also said “I don’t know the exact details” when Takeshi Saiki, a member of the Democratic Party for the People, asked him about the measures that are in place to guard against cyberattacks on nuclear power plants.

Sakurada said cybersecurity is an important issue for the government and he is confident of his abilities as the minister.

At the Upper House Budget Committee meeting last week where Sakurada was similarly criticized, the minister stumbled when answering basic questions, including some on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games organizing committee’s three policy pillars and the event’s budget. The debate was frequently interrupted as he relied almost entirely on his aides to answer questions.

When he was met with criticism, he stated he hadn’t received the questionnaire in advance, a standard protocol in Diet debates. He reversed course on his explanation four days later and apologized for the mishap.