Apple Maps to the rescue in China/Japan conflict

Two sets of disputed islands depicted, one for each nation

Apple iPhone 5

The increasingly vitriolic bun-fight between China and Japan over a disputed set of islands in the East China Sea got an unusual tech arbiter recently after it emerged that the much-maligned mapping app in iOS6 has been undertaking a rather unusual kind of virtual diplomacy.

Google Maps is as-of-yet unavailable for iOS6 and Apple’s Maps app has been roundly slammed across the planet after a series of gaffes including being unable to find the location of an Apple store in Sydney.

The various geo-locational faux pas are collected for your mirth on this Tumblr site, The Amazing iOS6 Maps, which also revealed an interesting adjunct to the dispute over the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands.

It appears as if the app has kindly duplicated the raggedy collection of rocks in order to give one set to Japan and another to the People’s Republic.

This hasn’t appeased angry Chinese netizens, however, many of whom apparently took to their weibo microblogs in force, incensed when they found out that the islands could be found at all by searching for the Japanese name for them, according to The Atlantic.

They won’t get a chance to check this themselves, however, as searches for Senkaku and other Japanese place names are apparently being censored on iOS6 for Chinese users at the moment.

The island dispute has been rumbling on since the 1960s, when it was revealed there may be oil reserves underneath them, but sparked into life again after the Japanese government recently decided to buy the rocks from their current owners – a Japanese family. ®

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