New Jersey Lawmakers Want To Rename The Sea Of Japan

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February 14, 2014 12:15 p.m.

A group of local politicians in New Jersey would like to rewrite maps of Asia.

On Monday, five New Jersey Democrats introduced a bill that would rename the sea between Japan and the Korean peninsula.

Currently, the sea is known as the Sea of Japan. But, according to the Star-Ledger newspaper, the bill would require “the state and all its political subdivisions, ‘to the extent practicable'” to refer to the body of water as both the “East Sea” and the “Sea of Japan.” Textbooks in New Jersey schools would have to adopt the new names starting in 2016.

The five backers of the bill represent what the Star-Ledger described as a “large and politically active Korean-American community.” South Koreans have argued the name “Sea of Japan” is “colonialist” while the Japanese government has said the name is more familiar to the international community.

According to Kyodo News International, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga discussed the bill at a press conference Thursday.

“It’s extremely regrettable,” Suga said. “We’ll take various steps in response through diplomatic channels while seeking a correct understanding of the name of the Sea of Japan in the international community.”

Image from Shutterstock / pavalena

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