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Korean Air’s jets get name of East Sea badly wrong

Jan 01,2019
Korean Air, the country’s flag carrier, displayed maps with the “Sea of Japan” aboard some its flights rather than the East Sea, the name supported by the Korean government.

The Japanese name of the sea, which is opposed by Korea, was found on a number of passenger-entertainment monitors. According to news reports Sunday, 3-D maps on the displays aboard 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft were found to make the designation.

Korean Air confirmed Monday that seven of its nine B787-9 planes had the problem. All other aircraft marked the location as the East Sea.

A spokesman explained that a software upgrade was undertaken to change the maps into 3-D visuals, and that the company failed to notice the wording supplied by the developer.

“The developer of the 3-D map is a company in the United States,” he said.

Adjustments to replace the Sea of Japan by the East Sea in the seven aircraft were to be finalized Monday.

“I was told that the modified version was sent to us today and delivered to the division in charge by 5 p.m,” added the spokesman, saying that the changes would be made by the end of the day.

He said the company did not know why the other two B787-9 aircraft did not have the same problem.

The controversy is the result of an ongoing dispute between Korea and Japan over the name of the sea located between the two countries. Both argue that their respective names had been used historically.

Since South and North Korea first raised objection to the “Sea of Japan” name in 1992, the research on the subject has yielded conflicting conclusions.

Korean Air received similar criticism in 2012, when its official homepage used the “Sea of Japan” name instead of the East Sea. The problem resulted from the company’s use of the Google Map service.


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]