In the western part of the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan lies between mainland Asia and Japan. North and South Korea and Russia have shores to this sea and there is a conflict over its name. In North Korea, the sea is called the Korean East Sea, while the South Koreans call it the East Sea. The water in the sea is mostly warm and the area is often hit by monsoons that can propel waves up to 8 meters high. However, the northern part of the sea can get really cold and here the water can even freeze to ice during the winter months.
What should the sea really be called?
That with the name of the Sea of Japan is no small thing and still something that is discussed in the region. Historically, all parties to the conflict are to some extent right, but since 2012, it has been decided by the International Hydrographic Organization (the international hydrographic organization) that the sea should be called the Sea of Japan in English. However, this is something that many believe will change due to the loud protests from South and North Korea. In 2017, the issue will be reviewed again, after which the sea may get a new official name. The reason why people do not like the sea being called the Sea of Japan is that they see Japan as a colonizing power with ambitions to expand in the region in an aggressive way.
Geography and climate
It is believed that this sea was once surrounded by land in all directions and that it later came to unite with the Pacific Ocean. The currents in the sea circulate counterclockwise. The Kurishio Current (also known as the Japan Current), the Tsushima Current and the warm East Korea Current for hot salt water to the northern part of the ocean. The three streams join in the north with the Tsugaru stream and flow out into the Pacific Ocean via Tsugarusundet.
The Japanese Sea has three sinks:
- The sink of Japan in the north
- The Tsushima Basin in the southwest
- The Yamoto depression in the southeast
The climate in the sea is characterized by the warm water in the south and monsoons. Evaporation is large, especially between October and March when the strong northwest monsoon wind draws in with cold and dry air. This evaporation leads to snowfall in the mountainous areas on the west coast of Japan. The lake can be very hard and tsunami waves have been measured repeatedly. The coast of Siberia freezes for 4-5 months and you can have ice on the coast until June depending on what the weather has been like in a given year.
Fishing and natural riches
Fishing is very important in the Sea of Japan and great focus is on herring, sardines and tuna. Since World War II, there have been some problems with the populations of these three species. Octopus is also a species that is fished for in this sea and in addition, seagrass is produced for the production of food products. The Kuriles are a controversial archipelago that is disputed and South Korea, Japan and Russia consider themselves entitled to the islands. The dispute has to do with fishing. The Sea of Japan also has other taxes such as oil and natural gas, especially in the northern part of Japan and Sakhalin Island.