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Conference sticks with ‘Sea of Japan’ name

Date Posted: 2007-09-06

The Sea of Japan is the official name for the body of water dividing Japan and the two Koreas.
Despite repeated objections from both North and South Korea, the 9th Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names stood its ground and kept the Sea of Japan name. The two Koreas have insisted it should be the East Sea, or Sea of Korea, names that have been used by the Korean people for several thousand years. North and South Korea claim the Sea of Japan name was a byproduct of Japan’s colonial era.
F.J. Ormeling, the Conference chairman, “encouraged the three countries to find a solution acceptable to all of them, taking into account relevant solutions, or else agree to differ.” He told Japan, South Korea and North Korea to bring the matter before the next conference scheduled five years from now.
Japan firmly insists “the Sea of Japan is the only name for the sea area concerned that has been established both historically and internationally. A member of Japan’s United Nations mission, Jiro Kodera, made the statement as he represented Japan at the conference. Kodera says the two Koreas consider the sea name “a bilaterial and political claim” that should be settled outside the conference parameters.

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