Japanese court orders Google to erase search results on man's arrest

Kyodo News

Posted at Dec 12 2019 09:50 PM

A Japanese court ordered Google Inc. on Thursday to erase news search results about an arrest of a man who claimed that showing information about the case which was later dropped was an invasion of privacy.

It is the first court ruling in Japan ordering a search engine provider to delete information, according to lawyers familiar with cases about the right to be forgotten.

According to the Sapporo District Court ruling, the man was arrested in July 2012 on allegations of sexual assault but the charges were dropped in October of that year because of insufficient evidence.

The court ruled that the search results in question showing a crime-themed bulletin board give the impression that the man was found guilty and have caused significant inconvenience to him.

His lawyer told reporters that the plaintiff is considering appealing the case because the ruling does not apply to some of the search results about his arrest.

Google declined to comment on the ruling.

The Supreme Court said in its first ruling in 2017 on conditions regarding whether to delete search results that deletion of references can be allowed only when the significance of privacy protection clearly outweighs that of information disclosure.

The top court said then that approval should be based on such factors as the degree of damage caused to privacy, how broadly specific searches can be carried out, the purpose and significance of the news articles at issue, and the necessity of reporting accurate information about those involved.