Sea of Japan
The 11th United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names
The 11th United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names (UNCSGN) was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 8 to 17 August 2017. At the Conference, the name “Sea of Japan” was raised among other topics. The following is a summary of related statements.
1. Actions taken by the Republic of Korea (ROK)
- (1) The ROK had submitted a working paper entitled “International Seminar on Sea Names, 2013~2016” as for the Agenda Item 7. The paper refers to “East Sea”, either independently or in parallel with the appellation “Sea of Japan”.
- (2) As for the Agenda Item 17a), the Delegate of the ROK stated that his country had repeatedly insisted at the Conference on the need to name the sea area as “East Sea” and on the rationale to use it.
2. Japan’s Rebuttal to the ROK's assertion
- (1) As for the Agenda Item 7, after having explained that Japan had no intention to politicize the discussion of UNCSGN, the Delegate of Japan clearly stated that the name for the sea area bordered mainly by Japan, Russia and the eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula is “Sea of Japan”, which is the sole internationally established name for that sea area. The Delegate of Japan also added that Japan can absolutely not accept the incorrect references made in the paper which are incompatible with the historical facts. (full text (PDF) )
- (2) When it comes to the Agenda Item 17a), the Delegate of Japan asked for the floor in order to rebut the ROK’s above-mentioned remarks and stated strongly that any attempt aimed at allowing the dual use of the name “Sea of Japan” as the internationally established name in parallel with “East Sea” is a unilateral act based on political purposes and harms even the safety of international maritime transport, and that any such attempt should be refused. (full text (PDF) )
[Note]: The United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names (UNCSGN) is a conference for experts from mapping authorities of countries around the world to discuss definitions of terms of geographical names, methods of nomenclature and other issues from technical perspectives. Since 1967 until today, it has been convened once every five years in principle. The UNCSGN does not have a mandate to decide the name of any particular geographical feature.