February 7, 2017
4. UN and U.S. use “Sea of Japan”
The United Nations as well as the Government of the United States officially uses the name Sea of Japan.
(1) The Policy of the United Nations Concerning the Naming of Sea of Japan
In March 2004, the United Nations Secretariat confirmed its policy that 'Sea of Japan' is the standard geographical term and as such is to be used in official documents of the United Nations.
- In response to the enquiry by the Government of Japan, the United Nations Secretariat officially replied on 10 March 2004, that 'Sea of Japan' is the standard geographical term and as such is to be used in official documents of the United Nations. It is confirmed that the name 'Sea of Japan' is authorized by the United Nations which is the most comprehensive and neutral international organization with the participation of 192 member states including both Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK), and the most proper forum to represent the collective will of the international community.
- Concerning the unfounded argument that it is fair to designate simultaneously different names as each party claims when there is a dispute over the name of geographical features, the United Nations Secreatriat clarifies its position that it observes the prevailing practice of the single use of 'Sea of Japan,' explaining that dual designation breaches the prevailing practice and infringes the neutrality of the United Nations, and that fairness and neutrality can be achieved only through the observance of the practice.
- It is expected that the international community including various international organizations pays fullest respect to the policy employed by the United Nations, even though it does not bind directly other international organizations.
(2) The policy of the US Government regarding the name Sea of Japan
- The US Board on Geographic Names is a US governmental organization established in 1947 to standardize the geographic names used in government publications. The policy of naming determined by the Board is binding upon all the federal governmental agencies, including the Department of State. All publications issued by such agencies must therefore comply with the policy. It is also strongly recommended that other organizations in the US comply with the policy determined by the Board.
- The US Board on Geographic Names officially published their determination that the name Sea of Japan is the only officially recognized name for the sea area concerned. This means that all the US federal governmental agencies are required to use the name Sea of Japan, and that other organizations in the US are strongly recommended to use it.