Japan has recruited McGuireWoods Consulting in its fight to persuade the state of Virginia not to torpedo legislation to designate the dual names of “Sea of Japan” and “East Sea” to the body of water that is bordered by those two rivals along with North Korea and Russia.
MWC is working the 60-day “general assembly” session, which concludes March 8, under a $75K pact with Japan’s embassy, which wants to maintain the current Sea of Japan name in future textbooks.
A measure before Virginia lawmakers would note that the Sea of Japan is also referred to as the East Sea.
It has the backing of the Old Dominion’s newly elected governor Terry McAuliffe.
The Voice of Korean Americans group, with a membership largely in northern Virginia, is pushing the proposed law.
It says the Sea of Japan reference became commonplace when Korea was under Japanese rule.
MWC contends a dual name for the sea is bad public policy, which won’t be credible among academicians and other experts.
The International Hydrographic Organization, which is responsible for naming bodies of water, recognizes the Sea of Japan name, but plans to review that status in 2017.
MWC’s lobbying focus is on lawmakers who don’t represent the northern portion of the state.
Executive VP Mark Bowles spearheads five-member team. He’s a former assistant attorney general in Virginia and chief of staff to the state’s one-time U.S. Congressman Lewis Payne, who now presides over MWC.
The government of North Korea supreme leader Kim Jung-un wants the disputed waterway to be called the “East Sea of Japan.”