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Japan to change name of "Gruzia" into Georgia in official documents

October 24, 2014, 17:12 UTC+3 TOKYO
Until now, Japan had used a phonetic transcription — "Gruzia", for the identification of the country Georgia in official documents
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Shinzo Abe and Georgy Margvelashvili

Shinzo Abe and Georgy Margvelashvili

© AP Photo/Toshifumi Kitamura, Pool

TOKYO, October 24. /TASS/. Japan will change the Soviet-era name for Georgia, which has been spelled as "Cruzia" in official documents in Japan, in accordance with Tbilisi's request. An agreement to this effect has been reached by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President of Georgia Georgy Margvelashvili on Friday. The Georgian president arrived in Japan on an official visit.

Until now, Japan had used a phonetic transcription — "Gruzia", for the identification of Georgia in official documents. The Georgian authorities lodged an official request, asking Japan to have the name of the country changed, back in March 2009 when then Georgian Foreign Minister Grigola Vashadze visited Tokyo. The visiting minister claimed then that the name of his home country, which was officially used in Japan then, had been borrowed from the Russian language.

Japan's initial reaction to the request was negative. The Japanese government explained that a change in the name of the country might provoke confusion because the requested name was identical to the name of the state of Georgia in the United States.

Nonetheless, five years later, the Japanese authorities raised the problem again because an absolute majority of world states (173 out of 193 UN member-states) refer to the country in question as Georgia.

A change of the Japanese transcription of the name of the country into Georgia will be discussed by the Japanese parliament until the end of its autumn session.

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