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Japanese Authorities Publicize "Sea Of Japan, Not The East Sea"

Japanese Authorities Publicize "Sea Of Japan, Not The East Sea"

Posted September. 17, 2004 22:00,   


It has been discovered that the Japanese government has launched an extensive campaign to persuade foreign governments and national institutions of the legitimacy of labeling the “East Sea” as the “Sea of Japan.” The Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK), a cyber embassy, revealed on September 17 that “Japanese diplomats are distributing advertisements to various governments and agencies saying, ‘It’s not the East Sea, but the Sea of Japan’ in Japanese, English and other languages.”

According to VANK, Japanese diplomats are also demanding agencies that have marked the ocean as the East Sea, or that have avoided the issue of labeling the Sea of Japan, to unilaterally change the notation, and have even gone so far as to post the message in Korean on the Japanese Embassy’s Korean website, justifying the labeling of the East Sea as the Sea of Japan.

The reason behind Japan’s hasty campaigning is because recently, more and more foreign websites are increasing their use of the notation “East Sea,” while the label “Sea of Japan” is growing unpopular in contrast.

Early this March, VANK’s first research of the usage of the East Sea in English websites was approximately 29,800, while the “Sea of Japan” turned up nearly 72,800. However, on a present count held on September 17, “East Sea” has increased to almost 33,700, while the use of the “Sea of Japan” decreased to 69,900.

VANK expressed its concerns, saying, “English websites are increasing the notation of ‘East Sea,’ but non-English-speaking countries like Spain have recently increased the use of ‘Sea of Japan’ due to Japan’s campaigning,” and advised, “It’s time for our government to actively campaign as well.”

Yang-Hwan Jung ray@donga.com