SEOUL – Swedish furniture giant IKEA has reportedly said next year it will stop selling a controversial decorative map in which the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan is labeled only as the Sea of Japan.
IKEA’s local unit announced the move in a press release Thursday, two weeks before the opening of its first showroom in South Korea, where the body of water is referred to as the East Sea.
“We acknowledge that IKEA has made a mistake in underestimating the sensitivity of this issue and for this, we sincerely apologize. In accordance with our plans the PREMIAR wall decoration in question will be taken out in 2015 worldwide,” the press release said.
“As a global company IKEA respects that the naming of countries, territories, borders and seas can be a sensitive topic and we do not take any point of view when it comes to these political topics,” the company added.
The controversy erupted last month after IKEA launched a Korean-language website. A map posted on the site used Sea of Japan instead of East Sea, drawing criticism from online commenters. Subsequently, a large canvas wall map bearing the appellation Sea of Japan was found to be sold at IKEA stores in other countries.