Gov't requests not to post Google maps on homepages

The Japanese government has asked local authorities and state-run universities not to post maps provided by Google Inc. on their websites, as some of the maps include foreign place names that undermine territorial claims by Japan, sources close to the issue said Saturday.

The disputed places include the South Korean-controlled group of islets in the Sea of Japan called Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea, the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, claimed by China as Diaoyu, and the Russian-held islands off Hokkaido, referred to by Japan as the Northern Territories.

Japan is involved in territorial disputes over the sovereignty of each of these places.

In its notices issued earlier this year, the government said, "Some registrations in the electronic maps on the homepages are incompatible with Japan's stance," according to the sources.

Google has said it seeks to act in accordance with the stances of each state and to provide fair information, while declining to comment on individual cases.

While the government recommends the public organizations to use maps compiled by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan, it remains unknown if they have followed the request, with Google maps apparently more convenient.