If you are in the market looking for a full-time job, it only makes sense that you possess some sort of basic qualifications or prior experience. The requirement for either of them increases with the responsibility that comes along with the role that you are offered. The education system in school and college has prepared us for having the apropos qualification required for a job. Even then, many positions ask for a handsome level of experience prior to taking on the role in a new company. However, if you are Japan’s new cybersecurity minister, you probably don’t require either of them.
In Japan’s latest cabinet reshuffle that occurred in October 2018, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appointed Yoshitaka Sakurada has the countries new cybersecurity minister. The 68-year-old Mr. Sakurada was first elected to Japan’s parliament in 1996 – more than 20 years ago. He is known as a stalwart leader pushing for Japan’s economic prosperity and supporting its culture. However, he became the laughing stock of Japan and the world during his customary question and answer session held in parliament and broadcasted live on national TV.
How did he manage to do that? While answering questions from his fellow politicians, he bizarrely admitted never to have used a computer before. One would imagine that having a basic knowledge of computers is mandatory for becoming the country’s highest voice in cybersecurity, but Mr. Sakurada’s admission to never even have used one was simply astounding. Instead, he stated that it’s unlikely that would have to actually use a computer to do his job. His aides could type into the computer for him as he and a large group of people can reason over cybersecurity policies before passing them in the parliament.
He also admitted to not knowing what a USB port is. When asked about the power grid and malware, Mr. Sakurada said USB was “basically never used” in the utility systems, appearing to not know what it might be. The entire ordeal was filled with incredulous laughter from Japanese politicians, which were highlighted in the media.
In the United States as well, many of President Donald Trump’s cabinet appointees have been highlighted to have no background knowledge of their respective fields. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, tasked with managing the conservation of national land and natural resources, has often touted his experience as a geologist when defending his policies. In reality, however, he has never worked as a geologist in any professional capacity – only holding a bachelor’s degree in it from the University of Oregon in 1984. Trump had also assigned massive portfolios to daughter Ivanka Trump and his husband Jared Kushner, despite the fact that neither of them holds adequate qualifications required to handle delicate international policies.
Back in Japan, President Shinzo Abe – an ally and friend of Donald Trump – has received significant backlash regarding the appointment of Mr. Sakurada as the nation’s cybersecurity minister. The roles of the job include securing the country’s millions of devices and holding the highest voice both for cybersecurity and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, his lack of adequate qualification can only lead one to wonder how he can manage such an important role without messing it up.