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June 26, 2003

A Sea By Any Other Name...

The influential National Geographic magazine has for the first time used the name "East Sea" as the English name for the body of water between Japan and the Korean peninsula. In a cover story to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, a map used the name in parentheses next to the name "Sea of Japan." The latter has been used by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) since 1929 (at the request of Japan) and in the "Limits of Oceans and Seas," the authoritative international publication on oceanography. Attempts have been made by Korea since the early 1990s to change the name, and it was first used last year on the magazine's Web site. Japan has vigorously opposed any attempts to have the IHO change the name.

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