S.Korea protests Google Maps updates on disputed islands

Featured - October 30th, 2012

South Korea’s foreign ministry lodged a protest Thursday against Google’s decision to remove the Korean name of disputed islands from the English and Japanese version of its maps.

Google made the changes after Japan decried the labels, removing the Korean name “Dokdo” from the Japanese version and replacing the islands’ name with “Liancourt Rocks” in the English version. The respective names of the islands had been shown in the Japanese and Korean versions.

The changes, however, weren’t entirely consistent, Wall Street Journal reports. Searching the keyword “Dokdo” on the Japanese map will take you to the outlying rocks although the name shown is “Takeshima” while typing the Japanese name on the Korean map directs to a town in Kochi prefecture, southern Japan. Typing “Dokdo” in the English map will take you to shops and restaurants around Seoul with the name “Dokdo”.

South Korea called the change “unacceptable” and said it would push to restore the Korean name of the islands on other maps. “So far, our demand has not been accepted. But the government will continue to make efforts,” Yonhap news agency quoted ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young.

Google said the updates were made “to show relevant labels” that uphold the significance of the names of places to countries.