A Maryland county has become the first in the U.S. to instruct teachers to call the body of water between Korea and Japan both "East Sea" and the "Sea of Japan," marking a minor victory for Korean campaigners.
The Board of Education of Anne Arundel County sent to principals and teachers of public schools under its control a teaching guide to that effect, the Voice of Korean Americans reported.
The organization has been pushing to get the preferred Korean name into the textbooks of U.S. schools.
There are 80 elementary schools, 19 middle schools and 12 high schools in the county.
"The National Geographic Society and many other cartographic institutions, atlases and textbooks are now labeling maps of the region of East Sea with both names -- Sea of Japan and East Sea," the guide reads.
It advises teachers to explain the controversy over the body of water to their students when teaching about the geography of the region.
It adds that geographic names have historical importance, carry cultural values, and deliver an explicit but delicate message to the people and society.
The U.S. officially still calls the body of water only "Sea of Japan" because it has a single-name policy for geographic entities.