November 5, 2018
Tokyo--Hate expressions, such as one targeting the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, or Chongryon, had temporarily appeared on Google Maps, Jiji Press learned Sunday.
Chongryon's Tokyo headquarters had been described as a criminal on the online map, while the former Tokyo headquarters site of the Japanese opposition Social Democratic Party had been described as the Japan chapter of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party of Korea.
These descriptions were deleted by Friday. Who wrote them is unknown. On the map, the Mie Prefecture branch of the pro-Seoul Korean Residents Union in Japan, or Mindan, had been described as an anti-Japan South Korean base.
Chongryon's Human Rights Association for Korean Residents in Japan said that the description is "discriminatory and cannot be justified" and that Google's responsibility as the map's provider can be pursued.
The SDP said, "Malicious postings should be restricted."
Inappropriate descriptions by users had temporarily appeared on Google Maps in several cases in the past.
In 2015, three people were criminally accused of posting information on the map that described the Atomic Bomb Dome in the western Japan city of Hiroshima as a nuclear test site. At the time, Google said it was strengthening its ability to detect inaccurate information and prevent inaccurate descriptions.
Information technology journalist Yo Mikami said that Google Maps is a public service used by many people and that Google has a social responsibility to ensure its accuracy and prevent hate expressions.
Companies and groups need to watch for improper descriptions on their websites by themselves, Mikami said.
A Google spokesman told Jiji Press that steps are "being taken continuously to ensure that (Google Maps) is used safely." Google will modify or delete inaccurate information on the map if it is notified, the spokesman said. Jiji Press
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