New Jersey considers bill to rename Sea of Japan. Wait... what?

New Jersey has a lot on its plate lately, whether it’s the arguments over their Governor’s bridge related activities or a series of winter storms paralyzing sections of the state. The legislature is busy tackling one pressing issue after another, and now they’re working on … renaming the Sea of Japan?

A group of local politicians in New Jersey would like to rewrite maps of Asia.

On Monday, five New Jersey Democrats introduced a bill that would rename the sea between Japan and the Korean peninsula.

Currently, the sea is known as the Sea of Japan. But, according to the Star-Ledger newspaper, the bill would require “the state and all its political subdivisions, ‘to the extent practicable'” to refer to the body of water as both the “East Sea” and the “Sea of Japan.” Textbooks in New Jersey schools would have to adopt the new names starting in 2016.

Did the Garden State legalize recreational pot use and I just missed the story? The initiative was apparently pushed by a “large and politically active Korean-American community.” It seems that they find the name racist, offensive or something of that sort. But it seems to skip over the question of exactly how the New Jersey legislature determined that it had the authority to rename a body of water on the opposite side of the planet. Frankly, I’m not sure they’d have the duly vested power to rename Barnegat Bay. I don’t even know if there’s any sort of recognized process to do this at all, since most of the names of bodies of open salt water have been around since the earliest days of sailing ships.

What’s possibly more amazing is that they actually got Japan to respond to the measure.

According to Kyodo News International, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga discussed the bill at a press conference Thursday.

“It’s extremely regrettable,” Suga said. “We’ll take various steps in response through diplomatic channels while seeking a correct understanding of the name of the Sea of Japan in the international community.”

Let’s put the Russians on notice. They’ve been getting away with having “the Black Sea” for far too long now. It’s clearly racist. New Jersey should rename it the Sea of Equal Opportunity at their next legislative meeting.