Tokyo – A Japanese court has told Internet giant Google to hide a man’s criminal past from its search results, saying he has “the right to be forgotten” to rebuild his life, according to reports.
The ruling parallels a move by the European Court of Justice, which said in 2014 that individuals have the right to ask Google to delete personal data produced by its search engine.
Local media said it was Japan’s first court decision that recognised “the right to be forgotten” in connection with Internet search results, though successful bids to remove results have previously been made citing a right to privacy.
The Saitama District Court, north of Tokyo, in December upheld an earlier, temporary injunction against Google to delete search results about a man convicted of child prostitution and pornography-related offences and who was fined 500,000 yen (S$6,200), the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Wednesday.
Presiding judge Hisaki Kobayashi said that depending on the nature of the crime offenders have the “right to be forgotten about past crimes, after passage of a certain period of time”, the Yomiuri reported, without naming the man or details of the crime.
The internet company has appealed the case to Tokyo High Court, the Yomiuri said.
The district court declined to comment on reports on the closed-door session and Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.