The International Hydrographic Organization has tentatively approved a proposal that supports the exclusive use of the name “Japan Sea,” or the Sea of Japan, in referring to the waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula, the Japanese government said Tuesday.
The proposal by IHO Secretary General Mathias Jonas is expected to be formally adopted by the Monaco-based organization possibly in late November, according to the government.
South Korea has been calling for the adoption of the alternative name “East Sea,” claiming the name “Japan Sea” came into use under Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
Japan has argued “Japan Sea” is the only internationally established name and there is no need to change it.
The proposal also called for marking sea areas with numbers instead of names in a new digital standard for a world map of oceans.
“In papers, ‘Japan Sea’ will remain. Our country’s claims have been reflected,” said Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.
Separately, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said, “We supported the proposal as one that enhances the convenience of work linked to waterways.”
“We hope it will be formally adopted,” Kato, the top government spokesman, said at a news conference.
The Limits of Oceans and Seas, an IHO guideline for countries to use as a reference in drawing up ocean maps, has described the area as “Japan Sea” since its first edition in 1928.
The IHO is the governing body for the naming of seas, oceans and navigable waters around the world.
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