A group of lawmakers in the U.S. state of Virginia is seeking to use the name "East Sea" along with "Sea of Japan" for the body of water separating Korea and Japan in school textbooks.
House Republican Caucus Chairman Timothy Hugo said Wednesday it is important to note the controversy between Korea and Japan over the labeling of the waters and pledged to introduce legislation in next year's session requiring all textbooks approved by the Virginia Board of Education to include both labels.
At present, American school textbooks refer to the body of water only as the "Sea of Japan" according to the policies of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. But individual states can revise their laws and change the policy. If the bill presented by Hugo is passed, Virginia would be the first U.S. state to use both labels.
Citing the fact that there are more than 2.5 million Korean-Americans and 150,000 of them in Virginia, Hugo said it is "unfair" that their opinions on this issue are ignored. He added that many countries and international organizations have started using both names.
In May, Virginia Democratic Senator Dave Marsden also pledged to propose a bill pursuing the same objective. As a result, the bill will be pursued by both the lower and upper houses of the state of Virginia.