The Japanese government has requested that local authorities and state-run universities stop posting Google maps on their websites because of some issues with the naming of several disputed islands. Japan is taking issue with the non-Japanese names that Google has used to refer to islands that are still being contested by Japan and their neighboring countries.
Included in the names being contested are the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which is being claimed by China as the Diaoyus and by Taiwan as Diaoyutai; the Takeshima Islands in the Sea of Japan, which is currently controlled by South Korea and known to them as Dokdo Islands; and four islands off Hokkaido called the Northern Territories by Japan but referred to by Russia, who still hold the islands, as the Southern Kurils. Also involved in the dispute is the efforts of South Korea to rename the Sea of Japan to just the East Sea. Japan issued notices earlier this year that the electronic maps are “incompatible” with the country’s stance over these islands.
For its part, Google has said they only act on the “fair information” they receive from the states about their stance on several territorial issues, but they refused to comment on specific cases. The Japanese government has told the agencies to use mapsthat were compiled by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan, but most have not done so because using Google Maps is still more convenient than any other mapping program.