‘East Sea’ Spat Moves to White House Website
Koreans and Japanese are clashing on the White House website over the name of the body of water separating the two countries. After the Korean community in the U.S. filed an online petition with the White House demanding the publishers of public school textbooks there refer to it not only as the “Sea of Japan” but also the “East Sea”, Japanese Internet users began to fight back, claiming that “Sea of Japan” is the historical name.
As of Tuesday morning, 27,700 people had signed the petition submitted by the Korean community in Virginia. It urged 1,300 leaders of local Korean communities in America to take part in the petition. If more than 25,000 people sign the petition within 30 days, the White House reviews it and states its position or holds a hearing to determine the validity of the claim and hands the matter over to the relevant agency.
This prompted a Japanese resident in the state of Mississippi to post his own petition drive on the website saying “Sea of Japan” is the common name for the body of water and accusing Korea of seeking to rewrite history “blinded by its radical nationalism”. So far, around 2,000 people have signed.
Last year, the U.S. said it will stick to the name “Sea of Japan” in accordance with its policy of using only one name for any body of water.