Google Streetview is declared legal in Japan!
(Kind of old news.. 6 days ago)
I found an article about this in English here.
Google has had repeated troubles with their maps and privacy issues in Japan.
First it was when streetview came out a couple years ago. Everyone had a fit but they blurred the images of people's faces and while people didn't like it, they learned to live with it.
(And even many young "hip" people think its cool and useful despite being a little frightening)
Then there was a big problem with google earth showing old maps of Japan that showed where the Burakumin used to live.
Just do a search for "google earth burakumin" and you will find many articles on this.
The burakumin issue is still a very big issue today and still many companies do (illegal) ancestry checks on new employees in secret.
This is an interesting issue. In Google's defense, you can say "well, these maps were already in the public domain so anyone who really really wanted them could probably get them", but on the other hand making this kind of information easily and widely available does result in many more people abusing this information than if they had to jump over several hurdles to do it.
So I am not sure who I would side with on this issue.
I think it is cool to be able to put an overlay on google earth to see what Japan looked like back in the day. (although i still have not been able to find out where to download or how to use these maps! if anyone knows, please let me know!)
However, I also want to respect and protect unfortunate people who are discriminated against because of their ancestry.