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Georgia wants Japan to stop calling it Russian-way ‘Gruzia’

October 21, 2014, 10:44 UTC+3 TOKYO
The Japanese parliament is to consider changing Georgia’s name in official documents during the 2015 spring session
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© TASS/Alexandr Klimchuk

TOKYO, October 21. /TASS/. Georgia has asked Japan to stop referring to the country as “Gruzia,” the Russian pronunciation of its name, and start calling it “Georgia” like the US state.

An official delegation from Tbilisi, led by President Giorgi Margvelashvili, is currently discussing the issue in Tokyo. The Georgian side is upbeat on the outcome of the negotiations.

Margvelashvili has already met with the Japanese foreign minister and discussed expanding bilateral cooperation.

In an interview with Georgia’s television on Tuesday, the president's advisor for foreign relations, Tengiz Pkhaladze, said the Japanese parliament is to consider changing the country’s name in official documents during the 2015 spring session.

Georgia, a former Soviet state, and Japan established diplomatic relations in 1992. Since then, Japan has used the phonetic transcription of "Gruzia"-"Gurudzia" when referring to Georgia.

Former Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze asked Japan to consider the issue during his visit to the country in 2009. He mentioned that the name of the country in the Japanese language was borrowed from the Russian language.

The first reaction of the Japanese authorities was to reject Tbilisi’s request as the change in the name could lead to a potential confusion with the US state of Georgia.

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