The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI) has released a set of new standard symbols for foreign-language maps after criticism that some of its current pictograms are hard to understand or are even offensive.
The most notorious of these is the swastika-like symbol for a temple. Likewise, a big X leaves some non-Japanese scratching their heads: It denotes a police box.
"To build a tourism-oriented nation and ensure smooth implementation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Japan needs to create an environment where foreign visitors can easily get transport and accommodations," the GSI said in a report on new map guidelines released last week. "For that purpose, it is especially important to disseminate multilingual maps that are easy for foreigners to understand."