On the SCJ report "Challenges for the national standardisation of geographical names in Japan"
This paper introduces the contents of the report "Challenges for the national standardisation of geographical names in Japan", prepared by the Toponymy Subcommittee under IGU Working Group of the Planetary Science Committee, Science Council of Japan. The report suggests the establishment of a national geographical names board in Japan. It first indicates the growing awareness in the world on the importance of geographical names, including the activities of UNGEGN. This is followed by a description of current issues Japan is facing on geographical names, such as discrepancies of names used in the media and those used in textbooks, naming disputes at local authority mergers, and commercialisation of geographical names. It also described currently how the various government administration bodies deal with these issues, and points out some problems, mainly due to lack of overarching principles and coordination between agencies. Some examples of systems of other countries with a national geographical names board is shown, and finally some concrete recommendations, including an establishment of an inter-ministrial body that deals comprehensively with geographical names issues, awareness raising of society on the functions and importance of geographical names, development of human resources, and active participation in the international forum on geographical names.