Regarding the Jan. 18 article “Ambassador frets over Virginia’s incursion into Sea of Japan naming row“: Life is too precious to point out one’s “duty” every time a politically controversial Kyodo article comes out. But the Japanese ambassador’s fretting over the contents of Virginia’s textbooks is an exception, because the naming row is of a semantic nature and I am a translator.

The article reported that a state legislative bill will require textbooks in Virginia to use “East Sea” as well as “Sea of Japan” to name the waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula.

To see how futile the battle is, we need to first see the respective phrases that Japanese and Korean maps apply to the neighboring East China Sea: Delineated are “Higashi Shina Kai” and “Dong Chung-Geuk Hae,” the latter sometimes called “Dong Zina Hae,” copying the English meaning. The Chinese government applies only two ideographs to the sea: “higashi” or “dong” for east, and “kai” or “hae” for sea. Check it out on the Net.

If the Korean version were seriously taken up on the international stage, South Korea would be followed by China’s two radicals (east and sea), resulting in the Korean East Sea. I cannot wait for the day when the Russian East Sea appears.

Nevertheless, Japanese government workers, including ambassadors, will be found malfeasant if they do not respond every time this kind of idiocy pops up. For they are under oath to safeguard national interests as extolled by Government Worker Law Article 96 (1) and constitutional Articles 15 (2) and 99.

I only remind them of this duty — which is nothing more than required by the Constitution — because I am a taxpayer, too.

fumio takeuchi

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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