Dear residents of Japan,

A few weeks ago, maps took center stage. It wasn’t that territory was being acquired or ceded — boundaries were not being redrawn — but the changes proposed by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan to its tourist maps caused a minor uproar nonetheless. The goal is clarity: Some of the current symbols are a bit confusing for those who have just arrived. For example, “H” stands for “hotel,” not “hospital,” while an “X” means kōban (police box) — not, well, “treasure.”

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