The bill requiring school textbooks in Virginia to carry both the Sea of Japan and the East Sea names is now just waiting for the signature of Governor Terry McAuliffe to officially become a law. Passing this legislation was part of his campaign promise and all eyes are on him now to see what decision he will make, which will affect the state’s relations with either Japan or South Korea, depending which way he will go.
The large Korean American community in Northern Virginia has long been pushing for the passing of such a bill, claiming that calling the body of water between the Korean peninsula and Japan as just the Sea of Japan is a painful reminder of their colonial past. Japan, which is one of the state’s largest trading partners, has been outspoken in their protest over this move. They sent a letter to the governor to officially lodge a complaint and hired prominent lobbyists to block the passing of the bill.
The governor has never publicly said he will not sign the bill, but reports said he was working hard behind the scenes to kill both the House and Senate bills to avoid angering Japan. But his spokesman Brian Coy said, “He made a campaign promise to sign it, and he’s going to honor his promise.” Senator Richard Black, who co-sponsored the Senate bill with Senator Dave Marsden, said that the 140,000-strong Korean community in Virginia was angered by the attempt to kill the legislation and now Governor McAuliffe is in the “hot seat” as they await his final signature.
[ via Washington Post ]