• Kyodo, Staff Report


The Metropolitan Police Department has filed criminal papers against three men, including a 30-year-old company employee from Tahara, Aichi Prefecture, on suspicion of obstructing the business of a Tokyo law office by rewriting facility names on Google Maps.

The police said the three men allegedly put the wrong names on Google Maps for the Diet building in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima and Izumo Taisha Shrine in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, between April 15 and April 20, creating fictitious names of religious facilities using the law office’s name.

Many viewers called the office to complain, believing a lawyer from the firm had made the changes in order to publicize the office.

The lawyer was known to be dealing with cases of online defamation, according to media reports.

The three men have admitted to the charges, according to police.

Police confirmed 16 other facilities had also been changed, including facilities at the Imperial Palace, Osaka Castle and Himeji Castle.

According to Google Japan Inc., anyone can rewrite names on Google Maps, but must submit an application for approval.

Police are investigating how the changes passed approval procedures.

A Google spokesman said that it had strengthened measures to prevent incorrect changes to the maps.

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