Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed into law a landmark bill on the East Sea name, Korean Americans here said Wednesday.
Accordingly, all new public school textbooks will identify the body of water between Korea and Japan as the East Sea as well as the Sea of Japan starting on July 1, they said.
Virginia is the first U.S. state to pass such legislation.
The governor signed the bill Friday, according to Peter Y. Kim, head of the Voice of Korean Americans, an organization that has campaigned for the measure.
The state Legislature overwhelmingly approved the bill in March despite strong lobbying against it by Japan's Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Koreans argue it's important to teach the historic background on why the water is more widely known as the Sea of Japan than its original name, the East Sea. They say it's just a relic of Japan's imperialistic past, including the 1910-45 colonization of Korea.
The Democratic governor plans to visit a local Korean restaurant for a separate signing ceremony on Thursday in front of a group of Korean Americans, Kim said. (Yonhap)