Sea of Japan
The 10th United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names (UNCSGN)
The 10th United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names (UNCSGN) was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 31 July to 9 August 2012. At the Conference, the naming of the Sea of Japan was mentioned among other topics. The following is a summary of related statements.
1. The delegate from North Korea stated that the name Sea of Japan is a remnant of Japanese colonial rule. The delegates from the Republic of Korea (ROK) and North Korea stated that the United Nations Resolution on the Standardization of Geographical Names III/20 and IHO Technical Resolution A.4.2.6 indicate that the names Sea of Japan and "East Sea" should be used simultaneously. They also stated that simultaneous use of the names Sea of Japan and "East Sea" had become common practice in the world.
2. In response, the Japanese delegation stated that issues regarding the naming of specific geographical features such as the Sea of Japan fall outside the scope of the UNCSGN. The Japanese delegation stated that the name Sea of Japan is the only internationally established name for the sea area concerned and that the allegation that the name Sea of Japan is a remnant of Japanese colonial rule has no basis in fact whatsoever. The Japanese delegation pointed out that there is internationally no consensus whatsoever in support of the proposal by the ROK and North Korea to change the existing international name "Sea of Japan" and that it is therefore unjustifiable for the two Koreas to impose such a change upon the international community. It added that oceans and seas are explicitly out of the scope of both UNCSGN Resolution III/20 and IHO Technical Resolution A.4.2.6.
3. The delegate from France stated that using solely the name "Mer du Japon" (Sea of Japan) is the policy of the Government of France. It explained that this policy is in accordance with the age-old international practice that dates back to the 19th century. The French delegate added that the Government of France hopes that the countries concerned will continue to seek a solution to the issue of the international appellation of the sea area.
4. The Chair stressed that this conference does not have a mandate to decide the name of any particular geographical feature and concluded the discussion by expressing hopes that the countries concerned will find a solution through dialogue.
(note)UNCSGN: UN Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names
The 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, it is convened once every five years in principle. The UNCSGN does not have a mandate to decide the name of any particular geographical feature.
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