National / Politics

Japan to accept unofficial talks on Sea of Japan name as South Korea pushes 'East Sea'

JIJI

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga indicated Wednesday that Tokyo is ready to accept unofficial talks among member countries of the International Hydrographic Organization on a review of the body’s guidelines that would include discussion over the name for the Sea of Japan.

South Korea, which is also expected to participate in the talks, insists that the body of water should be called the East Sea.

Noting that the IHO has called for unofficial discussions among interested member countries, Suga said at a news conference that Japan plans to “contribute constructively” to the talks “as a responsible member” of the organization.

Still, the top government spokesman underscored Tokyo’s rejection of South Korea’s demand, adding, “The Sea of Japan is the only name that has been established internationally, and there is no need or reason for changing it.”

Japan will firmly reiterate its stance at the envisaged unofficial talks, Suga said.

The IHO guidelines, “Limits of Oceans and Seas,” have used only “Japan Sea” for the Sea of Japan since the first edition was published in 1929.

South Korea has urged the IHO to change the name to “East Sea” or use both.