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Japan 'takes issue with Google maps' over islands

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Members of a nationalist group hold a "Rising Sun" flag at a rally in Tokyo on February 22, 2013 over the disputed Takeshima/Dokdo islands (AFP)

Japan has asked local authorities and state-run universities not to post Google maps on their websites because some of them use non-Japanese names for disputed islands, reports said Sunday.

The disputed territory includes the South Korean-controlled islets in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) called Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea, and the Japan-held Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, claimed by China as the Diaoyus, the Sports Nippon tabloid reported.

The Russian-held islands off Japan's northern main island of Hokkaido, referred to by Japan as the Northern Territories, are also included, the paper said.

In notices issued earlier this year the Tokyo government said that "some registrations in the electronic maps on the home pages are incompatible with Japan's stance", Kyodo News agency reported.

It said the government recommends that public bodies use maps compiled by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan, but it was unclear if they have followed the request because Google maps are apparently more convenient.