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Sea Of Japan, Or East Sea? In Virginia, It's A Controversial Question

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Sea of Japan, or East Sea? Virginia legislators may have to decide.
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Sea of Japan, or East Sea? Virginia legislators may have to decide.

Virginia's General Assembly has been caught in a dispute between Japan and Korea, and it's all over how students and teachers refer to the body of water between the two nations.

The dispute is over whether the name of that body of water should be referred to as the  Sea of Japan or "East Sea" in textbooks. Several Northern Virginia lawmakers were contacted by constituents of Korean heritage, who expressed their discontent with that body of water being referred to as the Sea of Japan in textbooks and say it's a legacy and reminder of Japan's occupation of Korea.

Del. Tim Hugo introduced the legislation, which would require all newly printed Virginia textbooks that refer to the Sea of Japan to note that it is also referred to as the East Sea. Del. Joe Morrissey questions why the state would do this.

"What business is it of the Commonwealth of Virginia to engage in the nomenclature of bodies of water, or land masses?", he asks. Morrissey also worries that any decision would set a bad precedent. "Consider the dispute between the Arabian Gulf or the Persian Gulf," he says.

Despite Morrissey's objections, the bill was advanced to its final stage in the House of Delegates.

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