The Tokyo District Court on Monday ordered U.S. Internet giant Google Inc. to delete the terms from its autocomplete search functions in connection with a Japanese man who says the feature slandered his character.
It is the first time in Japan for such a ruling ordering Google to delete the terms, the man’s lawyer said.
The plaintiff, whose name has been withheld, filed a lawsuit last year seeking compensation for damage he said he has suffered. In the suit, the man said that when a user types in his name on Google’s search engine, words pertaining to criminal acts appear, and if a user clicks on those words, articles defaming him appear.
The man believes the search function was a factor in the sudden loss of his job several years ago and of rejection by several companies in his subsequent job-hunting activities, according to the lawyer. The court, however, stopped short of saying the search functions were directly linked to the loss of his job.
Google said it will read the ruling carefully and decide how to address the matter.