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    East Sea name bill: South Korea wins battle against Japan for US textbooks

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    The Virginia state legislature handed South Korea a minor victory earlier this month after it passed a bill requiring school textbooks to designate the Sea of Japan also as the East Sea and state lawmakers in New York have now joined in the East Sea naming efforts.

    The house of delegates approved the proposed legislation with a vote of 81-15.

    In addition to victories in Virginia and New York, New Jersey lawmakers have introduced a bill obliging the state government to use only the East Sea, when referring to the body of water.

    Korean-Americans remain a dominant political force in Virginia where legislators have received considerable financial support from the Korean community.

    The state senator who who submitted the bill in New York, explained that "Sea of Japan" is the a term that Koreans associate with the legacy of Japanese colonialism.

    According to 2010 U.S. census data, 1.7 million Korean Americans live in the U.S., while the number of Japanese Americans stands at 1.3 million. Several counties in Maryland, which neighbors Virginia, have already adopted both names when teaching students, despite objections from the Japanese government.

    The Korean community in the US appears determined to push the East Sea bill mandating that each state use the term East Sea in children's textbooks. A spokeswoman for the State Department, however, said on January 22 that there is to no change in U.S. government policy. The U.S. federal government formally only recognizes the Sea of Japan as the name of the body of water.

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