The U.S. version of the web search portal Google has deleted the Korean address of the Dokdo islets from a map at the request of Japan's Shimane Prefecture. Japan maintains a flimsy claim to Korea's easternmost islands, dating back to the colonial occupation.
The Tokyo Shimbun on Wednesday said the map used to list Dokdo's address as "799-800 Ulleung," referring to the last habitable Korean island, the nearest to Dokdo. The Japanese government in March of this year protested against the Korean address, and Shimane Prefecture, which regards itself as the administrative authority over the Korean islets, demanded the address be changed.
Shimane Prefecture said Google decided not to list the address and stay "neutral." The map in the Korean-language version will name the islets Dokdo, but the Japanese version will use the imperial-era name Takeshima. A prefecture official hailed the decision and vowed to press the search giant to list a Japanese address for the islets.
In fact, a search for "Dokdo" on the international version of Google maps shows only the reference "Liancourt Rocks" -- an old maritime name for the islets -- as does a search for "Takeshima."
But a search for "Dokdo" on Google Earth, the satellite image service, leads to an image of the islets with the reference "Liancourt Rocks," but clicking on the image produces the startling address, "Takeshima, Okinoshima-cho, Shimane Prefecture."
Google Korea said it uses "a wide variety of materials" as references to offer "an accurate designation" for the islets.