Yoshitaka Sakurada, 68, was named to take over the two posts in October by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. However, Mr Sakurada has never held a cabinet position in his 22 years in parliament – and admitted he has never used a computer or worked a computer system. His new position will require him to keep the country safe from cyber-threats during the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. The minister made the admission at a parliamentary committee meeting on Wednesday when asked by an opposition lawmaker if he was computer literate.
Mr Sakurada replied: “I’ve been independent since I was 25 and have always directed my staff and secretaries to do that kind of thing.
“I’ve never used a computer!”
However, Mr Sakurada had said he recognised that “firmly carrying out cybersecurity from a citizen’s standpoint” was part of his job.
When asked by the opposition member how someone lacking computer skills could be in charge of cybersecurity, Sakurada said policy was decided broadly by a number of people in his office and the national government.
Despite the admission, Mr Sakurada said he was confident there would be no problems.
The newly appointed minister’s responses in parliament and news conferences have drawn criticism on more than one occasion.
Addressing another parliamentary committee, the minister had slipped up by saying the Olympics would cost Japan 1,500 yen (£10.35) instead of 150 billion yen (£1.35 billion).
He has also blamed his mistakes on the opposition not submitting questions in advance, although they had.
During news conferences for the Olympics, the minister has often simply answered: “I don’t know”.
In October, Japan’s Ambassador to the UK, Kuji Tsuruoka warned the British Government that Japanese companies could “reconsider” their position in Britain if Brexit creates “impediments” to the free flow of products with the European Union.
Ambassador Tsuruoka suggested Brexit would undermine Britain’s attractiveness to international investors, if the country agreed to an arrangement threatening frictionless trade.