politics

Japan complains over U.S. military's use of term 'East Sea'

67 Comments
By Sakura Murakami and Josh Smith

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It's quite simple, the US won't use the name "Sea of Japan" in any statement directed at North Korea, since "Sea of Japan" doesn't exist in either Koreas.

In contrary, the use of "Sea of Japan" would infuriate North Korea, so the US would refrain from its use.

Furthermore, "Sea of Japan" has been officially retired at UN IHO, the official name of the sea is now "18th Sea".

-20 ( +18 / -38 )

Suck it up buttercup! Get used to it and get over it.

-8 ( +21 / -29 )

South Korea is deceiving countries into playing along with its self-victimization narrative while it's indoctrinating its people to hate Japan. Only in that country will gas stations refuse to refuel Japanese cars and people will drive a car into the Japanese embassy. It was just two years ago when people were harassing a US diplomat for having a moustache similar to a long dead Japanese general's, three people tried to break into the Japanese embassy, and the government lied about consulting the US about scrapping GSOMIA. The hypocrisy makes me ashamed to be Korean.

25 ( +40 / -15 )

A body of water is named after the land that creates it.

Fog in the channel, the continent's cut off!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The “East Sea” is situated to the west of Japan so it’s not a neutral term.

26 ( +31 / -5 )

A body of water is named after the land that creates it.

Hence it's called the English channel and not the French channel.

Fog in the Channel, the Continent's cut off !

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@Meiyouwenti

The “East Sea” is situated to the west of Japan so it’s not a neutral term.

The 18th sea is situated to the east of the Asian Continent, so yes the name "East Sea" is entirely suitable from geographical perspective.

This is similar to how "North Sea" is north from the perspective of the European continent.

-24 ( +9 / -33 )

Well, I really hope that when North Korea lobs several missiles into Tokyo that the news media call it the Sea of Japan instead of the East Sea so as not to irritate the completely destroyed government of what-used-to-be Japan. In other words, This is Japan’s biggest problem?

-11 ( +12 / -23 )

That’s Japan’s biggest concern??? Lol.

1 ( +18 / -17 )

"Japan’s stance on this issue is that 'Sea of Japan' is the one and only official, international name for this body of water," he said.

I thought that the international standard was : Sea of Japan (East Sea).

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

"The U.S. military later corrected its statement calling the waters the "Sea of Japan."

Much Ado. Big Deal. America corrected themselves. I do not get this as a problem. Or a newsworthy incident.

19 ( +24 / -5 )

Didn’t a top US general call the whole Pacific Ocean the American Sea a few years back?

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

The “East Sea” is situated to the west of Japan so it’s not a neutral term.

The 18th sea is situated to the east of the Asian Continent, so yes the name "East Sea" is entirely suitable from geographical perspective.

Not suitable at all. It clearly is not neutral as the first poster pointed out. I could understand if they tried to call it the East Asia Sea, but clearly it is not east of Japan. I wonder how many people would appreciate it if countries from North and South America decided to rename the Atlantic Ocean the East Ocean and the Pacific Ocean the West Ocean. Not many from Europe, Africa, or Asia.

This is similar to how "North Sea" is north from the perspective of the European continent.

Not similar at all. You can't get any further north than north.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

The U.S. military landed in hot water with Japanese officials "

Lol, are these the same officials that keep on asking for US "reassurance" and " reaffirming of alliance and stance " on Senkaku, NK and everything else every 5 minutes? Dont think US military looses any sleep over such pissy non issue as thius.

-8 ( +11 / -19 )

The U.S. military's use of the term "East Sea" made a splash of its own in Japan, which prefers the name "Sea of Japan"

Next move....Japan nominates "Sea of Japan" as its UNESCO heritage ;))

-5 ( +13 / -18 )

How about other countries, sometimes even in Europe, who use both terms, East Sea and Japanese Sea? Is that a problem too? This is so childish.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

Japan can name her territorial waters as she pleases. Doesn't matter what her enemies call it those waters still are Japan.

They call it the Gulf of Mexico but the waters south of Houston are still the USA.

They call it the Gulf of California it is Mexican waters not those of the state of California.

Ownership of the waters is what is important and Japan should not overreact to any dog barking nonsense.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

"t's quite simple, the US won't use the name "Sea of "Japan" in any statement directed at North Korea, since "Sea of Japan" doesn't exist in either Koreas.

However,

"The command later issued a correction saying Kafka's statement should have referred to the Sea of Japan or waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula.

The United States has not changed its position on using Sea of Japan as the sole approved name for the geographic feature," the correction said."

It's official:

Someone cannot read.

With "no impunity".

13 ( +14 / -1 )

This is the kind of trivial nonsense nationalist governments like to squabble about.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Isn’t 鲸海, literally "Whale Sea", the ‘original name’ shared by, at least, three countries? Perhaps, no ‘rights’ would be lost if everyone referred to it as such.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

However, the origin species for which this body of water was originally named has been “hunted/captured/killed for commercial/scientific purposes”, almost to extinction. That issue also is under continuous dispute.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The discussion is nicely presented on Wikipedia, and basically, it’s important to Korea to call it the East Sea, and to everyone else, it is, well, not an interesting argument. I imagine it will be called the East Sea when addressing Koreans, provided nobody is too spaced out to remember.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Better yet, it’s easily settled if we just refer to the ‘specific GPS coordinates’ of where missiles are ‘targeted’ and other military ‘exercises’ so no one is ever offended.

Then, each country can then ‘portray/interpret’ their own ‘intent/outrage’ as they like.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It appears the US was pretty fast to retract their use of the terminology.

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/93247df3fcca31f32e96ab5453bcd14cc7e9decd

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Apart from Russia, America can call the shots. If they can change the government, they can change the map.

famous person said, “whoever wins the war, can write the history book”.

i bet on China, but I don’t gamble.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

War of words. Cranky Japan. Seriously Japan should learn to pick its battles a bit more tactfully.

This is not news's worthy one bit really. The 18th sea or the 18 parallel or the East Sea or the Sea of Japan. What ever you want to call it. Its a stupid thing to get all in hissy about.

How about just calling the body of water the Koreas and Japan share.

" The DPRK test fire two ballistic missiles that were fires in the sea the Japan and Koreas share. "

Now no ones feeling are bent.

Shouldn't we talking about the missiles? Oh that's right routine as usual for the hermit kingdom. Lets all put blinders on. No threat here. One day. One of these missiles will go array and hit Japanese soil.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

The Russians can call that sea is : Sea of Vladivostok! I think that name is Ok as well!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

War of words. Cranky Japan. Seriously Japan should learn to pick its battles a bit more tactfully.

This is not news's worthy one bit really. The 18th sea or the 18 parallel or the East Sea or the Sea of Japan. What ever you want to call it. Its a stupid thing to get all in a hissy about.

How about just calling it the body of water the Koreas and Japan share.

" The DPRK test fires two ballistic missiles that were fired in to the sea the Japan and Koreas share. "

Now, no ones feelings are bent.

Shouldn't we be talking about the missiles? Oh that's right. Routine as usual for the hermit kingdom. Lets all put blinders on. No threat here. One day. One of these missiles will go array and hit Japanese soil.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

The command later issued a correction saying Kafka's statement should have referred to the Sea of Japan or waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula.

"The United States has not changed its position on using Sea of Japan as the sole approved name for the geographic feature," the correction said.

That's that and without a major problem. Error is human. Major international media outlets have already referred it to the Sea of Japan or equivalents in other languages ("Mer du Japon" for French).

Above all, that's NOT the most critical point for this news event. What's up to "flying projectiles"?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

没有問題:

The “East Sea” is situated to the west of Japan so it’s not a neutral term.

I don't see the Norwegians kicking up a fuss about the North Sea.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

I never once heard that name for that body of water while in the military and I spent a lot of time in it. Simple faux pas as was stated in the article. At ease.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Poor old Japan.

Chinese vessels, North Korean missiles and US occupiers.

I blame it all on Matthew Perry.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

The term "Sea of Japan" has more to do with practicality and common agreement (for quick and accurate reference) than to do with national pride or preference. Japan is just complying with international rules and agreement. It's also very crucial for security emergency just like the North's missile provocation.

Korea is allowed to use 동해 as a Korean translation within its territory and for Korean speakers.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

> Didn’t a top US general call the whole Pacific Ocean the American Sea a few years back?

It’s far more accurate than calling the East Sea the Sea of Japan given the US can dominate the Pacific in ways that right wing Japanese people only wish Japan could do in the East Sea.

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

I blame it all on Matthew Perry.

He wasn’t that bad of an actor. You’re a bit harsh. s/

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Jeez. Headlines like this should come with a Trigger Warning.

And no-one's made a comment yet about the offending spokesman's name being Captain Kafka?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

P. Smith:

Uptick

1 ( +2 / -1 )

East China Sea

South China Sea

Sea of Japan

How about more ...

Southeast China Sea

Northeast China Sea

Northwest Japan Sea

etc....etc....

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

And no-one's made a comment yet about the offending spokesman's name being Captain Kafka?

Everyone was too busy arguing over the name of a small piece of water that should be named the Liberty Sea and be patrolled solely by the US.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Hmmm...

Of course,

the underlying fear is, each nation worries the other will claim absolute ownership and control of the Sea and all whom sail in her...

Hmmm...

Now what does that situation remind anyone of, I wonder...

The UN allowed all coastal nations to lodge a topographical map of the sea bed up to 200ks from their shore line and once accepted that area became that nation's sole economic zone.

This leaves the rest of the sea mass outside those zones as international waters.

I believe all coastal nations agreed... maybe except one?

As long as we all respect each other's rights to borders and economic zones, as chartered by the UN, there should be no problem, no?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

That's how everyone outside of Japan, China and Korea refers to it...

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

It is the Sea of Japan. As long as you come to the same result, feel free to discuss it some longer. lol

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@Farmboy

to everyone else, it is, well, not an interesting argument.

To everyone else, it's "18th sea", per IHO designation. "Sea of Japan" has been retired by IHO.

@noriahojanen

Japan is just complying with international rules and agreement. 

The international(IHO) agreement is "18th sea". Sea of Japan has been officially retired by the IHO.

It's also very crucial for security emergency just like the North's missile provocation.

The US military uses the term "East Sea" when communicating with Korean side.

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

Japan, in its hitherto dominant position, never expected or readied itself for any challenges. No wonder it's shocked with this re-naming.

Japan is in a Kafkaesque nightmare !

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

@BigYen

And no-one's made a comment yet about the offending spokesman's name being Captain Kafka?

Well if they do not want to go for the 18th sea or the Whale Sea as suggested by @snowymountainhell ; perhaps they should just go for the Kafka sea. Seems fair :

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Kafkaesque#English

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It is Sea of Russia. Now go away,

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Japan is gonna have to change their constitution quick.

After china takes Taiwan Japan is next.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The international(IHO) agreement is "18th sea". Sea of Japan has been officially retired by the IHO.

Wrong again:

IHO approves proposal that maintains exclusive use of 'Japan Sea'

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/11/17/national/iho-proposal-japan-sea/

9 ( +12 / -3 )

The IHO agreed to use the numerical identification of 18 within its organization to stop Korea from whining, but the vast majority of the world will still refer to it as the Sea of Japan. Maps, books, movies, and news will all refer to it as the Sea of Japan. Really, shouldn't Koreans be more worried about their relatives suffering in the north, or the decline of Samsung?

8 ( +12 / -4 )

commanteerToday  03:04 pm JST

The international(IHO) agreement is "18th sea". Sea of Japan has been officially retired by the IHO.

Wrong again:

IHO approves proposal that maintains exclusive use of 'Japan Sea'

A certain poster has a consistent propensity to post false information as though it were accurate.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

There's a delicate problem involved in place names, especially when international relations come into a play. But I think custom and international usage must play out here.

The Koreans are said to have traditionally called the waters east of them “East Sea”, which the Japanese have called “the Sea of Japan”, probably since the Meiji Restoration. Before then I think there was no Japanese name for the sea west of Japan; neither for the sea now called the Pacific Ocean.

To the Japanese, the east sea is the Pacific Ocean as a WW II military song, "Look at the Dawning of the East Sea", shows. Historically, was the “East Sea" a common or proper noun/expression in Korean?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Poor babies!

-20 ( +0 / -20 )

@commanteer

Wrong again:

That article is wrong because it simply wrote down Japanese government's misleading opinion to cover up its diplomatic disaster. Here are the actual facts behind the official removal of "Sea of Japan" from IHO use.

https://thediplomat.com/2020/11/south-koreas-fight-against-the-sea-of-japan-pays-off/

South Korea’s Fight Against the ‘Sea of Japan’ Pays Off 

The country’s long battle for co-use of the names “East Sea” and “Sea of Japan” is over as the IHO decided to adopt a new numerical system.

The Japanese government, however, downplayed the IHO’s decision by saying that the name “Sea of Japan” will be maintained on the organization’s map of oceans in the print version, known as S-23, leaving room for the international community and press to keep using the term.

The IHO Secretary-General’s report, however, confirms that S-23 is no longer a valid standard, according to the South Korean Foreign Ministry.

Yuji also mentioned that the IHO’s latest decision has effectively carried out the Korean side’s claim and it will have repercussions for the Japanese government once S-130 is finalized.

English Interpretation.

1) "Sea of Japan" name was kept in the S-23 printed chart from 1929.

2) However, S-23 has been retired from service and is now a museum piece, designated a legacy chart.

3) The current IHO standard is S-130, which has removed "Sea Of Japan" and the sea is now officially known as "18th Sea".

@OssanJapan

A certain poster has a consistent propensity to post false information as though it were accurate.

It IS accurate.

-12 ( +0 / -12 )

At last. Japan has a voice.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

The US i s playing scramble The Sea of _____. Who would like to by a letter?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The Sea of Kafka...from this day forward!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@Samit Basu

The US military uses the term "East Sea" when communicating with Korean side.

actually, they shouldn't. USA has a one name policy and in all Official statements, USA must and should refer to the name of the SEA as sea of Japan.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@Sindhoor GK

actually, they shouldn't.

But they do.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

For those not understanding the significance of IHO's removal of "Sea of Japan" from its official chart, Japan's sole basis of claims on exclusive use of "Sea of Japan" is that this was the IHO approved name.

Now that IHO has removed "Sea of Japan" from its current S-130 chart, Japan can no longer claim "Sea of Japan" name's legitimacy based on IHO inclusion; "Sea of Japan" is just another local name, on same legal standing as "East Sea".

This is what Japan's foreign ministry tried to cover up.

-13 ( +0 / -13 )

"On a sand beach of a small island in the east sea I play with a crab, fighting back tears."  

This is a poem (translation mine) composed by Takuboku Ishikawa describing his forlorn circumstances and wretched fate. 

The expression "east sea" here is used as a common noun/expression, not a proper noun uniquely meaning the sea off the east coast of Korea.

 I wonder if "the East Sea" in Korean hasn't been historically used likewise -- as a common expression.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Samit Basu

It's quite simple, the US won't use the name "Sea of Japan" in any statement directed at North Korea, since "Sea of Japan" doesn't exist in either Koreas.

That is because "either Koreas" do not use English as national language. How this sea is called in English not up to the Koreans to decide, just as nobody stops them from calling it in their language whatever they want. They can call it "The Great Korean Lake" in Korean for all I care. In the event, "Sea of Japan" is the established term in English, afaik.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Koreans historically just referred to mere coastal areas to the east by East Sea( note No definite article should be attached ) and the ones to the west (West Sea). Koreans' recognition of it's own territory's been historically only up to 130°56East=east edge of Ulleungdo (not to mention, that doesn't reach to Takeshima which is 131°52East.)

Basically they never made such a big fuss about internationally recognized official name given to the ocean off the coast up to now. Needless to say, They have never made a big fuss about the naming Yellow Sea, never tried to change it to WEST SEA even a bit. Double standard

2 ( +2 / -0 )

3) The current IHO standard is S-130, which has removed "Sea Of Japan" and the sea is now officially known as "18th Sea".

The IHO can give it whatever number they want, but you can not expect people to refer to oceans by numbers in normal language. "Sea of Japan" is the established term in all the languages I know, and it is not up to the Korean govt to change that.

What does "East Sea" supposed to mean, anyway? East from where? Fwiw, in German and Scandinavian languages, the term "East Sea" refers to the Baltic Sea. So are the Germans and Scandinavians supposed to have 2 East Seas?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

voiceofokinawaToday  10:38 am JST

"On a sand beach of a small island in the east sea I play with a crab, fighting back tears."  

This is a poem (translation mine) composed by Takuboku Ishikawa describing his forlorn circumstances and wretched fate. 

The expression "east sea" here is used as a common noun/expression, not a proper noun uniquely meaning the sea off the east coast of Korea.

Ishikawa was from Iwate Prefecture facing the Pacific Ocean which is undoubtedly what the "east sea" or "sea to the east" represents. This underlines the absurdly selfcenteered position of South Korea, expecting the entire world to rename a body of water to one which only makes any sense to a person standing on the Korean Peninsula. The Chinese call it the Sea of Japan, because they already call the East China Sea the "East Sea". The Russians also call it Sea of Japan. Europeans were calling it Sea of Japan before Japan was. While Koreans seem to have an endless supply of gripes against Japan, this has to be the silliest.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Of course, I forgot they also referred to East China Sea by calling it South Sea. Although the entire world calls the ocean as it is, it is not any problem AT ALL from this point of view.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Of course, I forgot about their south sea. They also referred to East China Sea by calling it South Sea. The entire world has been calling the ocean East China Sea. It has not been any problem AT ALL to these people.

Even small kids would ask them WHY?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's just turned out that the Koreans call the sea off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula "West Sea", which is internationally known as the "Yellow Sea". It's quite legitimate to call seas with whatever names they may like, but I don't think there's any legitimacy for them to ask the international community to toe their line and call the Yellow Sea "West Sea" and the Japan Sea "East Sea".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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