'East Sea' bill passes Virginia House of DelegatesUpdated: 2014-03-06 23:01:00 KST
The so-called "East Sea" bill has passed the Virginia House of Delegates -- the last phase of the legislative process -- in a 82 to 16 vote.
The bill requires all text books approved by the Board of Education to note that the "Sea of Japan" is also referred to as the Korean name "East Sea."
As the bill passed the state Senate in January, it now only requires the governor's signature for it to become law.
Governor Terry McAuliffe is expected to sign the bill by early April at the latest, and the bill will take effect from July 1st.
The passing of the bill is a major victory for the state's estimated 82-thousand Korean American residents.
They had to overcome intense lobbying by the Japanese government, in which Tokyo warned it might reconsider Japanese investment in the state.
The Korean American community in Virginia has been pushing hard for the change since the early 1990s.
They, as well as all Koreans, view the "Sea of Japan" designation as an unpleasant reminder of Japan's brutal colonization of the Korean peninsula in the early to mid-20th century.
The Korean American community aims to further introduce the dual-naming-bill, in U.S. states with high Korean American populations like California, New York, and New Jersey.
They ultimately hope to change the U.S. government's single name policy regarding sea names.
The International Hydrographic Organization, or IHO, published a book designating official names of the seas in 1929.
Japan registered the name "Sea of Japan" to refer to the body of water that separates Korea and Japan, however, as Korea was colonized by Japan back then, it had no way to voice its opposition on the world stage.
The Korean government has been calling for the IHO to change the current single-name of the sea to at least a dual-naming, as the term "East Sea" has been used in Korea for thousands of years.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News.
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