A move to use both “East Sea” and “Sea of Japan” in school books in the United States brought fresh concerns to Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae. A current debate among lawmakers in Virginia is centered on using both names on the body of water located between Japan and the Korean Peninsula.
Maintaining that the “Sea of Japan” is the internationally recognized name for that area, the Japanese ambassador wants to retain that name instead of using “East Sea.” South Korea calls the area “East Sea” to differentiate it from the name given by Japan. Speaking to reporters in Washington, Sasae questioned the legitimacy of using such names wondering, “if it is fair in primary and secondary education to (only) back one side over a matter of international dispute.”
Sasae’s concern stems from the fact that Virginia’s population includes a lot of Korean Americans. Most of them reside in the northern part, near Washington DC. He said that he’s “concerned about this kind of move” and plans to exert more efforts “to make sure the move (in Virginia) does not spill over” to other states. The Japanese government already protested the use by some towns near Virginia, with both names in their textbooks.