02.16.17

Rep. Takano Joined by CAPAC Leadership in Introducing Resolutions in Remembrance of Japanese American Internment

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) introduced two resolutions in remembrance of Japanese American internment. The first, introduced with Reps. Doris Matsui and Colleen Hanabusa, would establish a Day of Remembrance to reflect on the injustices endured by thousands of men, women, and children who were the victims of discrimination during World War II. The second would recognize Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution to honor Mr. Korematsu’s lifelong fight to defend the constitutional rights of all Americans.

This year is the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which permitted the internment of certain communities based only on ethnicity and country of origin.

“The forced relocation and imprisonment of 120,000 Japanese Americans, including my parents and grandparents, was a dark chapter in our history that can never be forgotten,” said Rep. Takano. “The consequences of allowing our fear to overcome our compassion should serve as a lesson that is more relevant today than ever before. I hope my family’s suffering, and the suffering of so many others, acts as a warning to the American people about the danger of allowing hate and discrimination to dictate policy.”  

In 1944, Fred Korematsu appealed his imprisonment in a Japanese American prison camp to the Supreme Court, which ruled against him on the grounds that wartime incarceration was a “military necessity.” However, following revelations of governmental misconduct and evidence that incarceration was attributable to “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership,” his case was reopened in 1983 and his conviction was overturned.

President Bill Clinton awarded Mr. Korematsu the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civilian honor. In 2010, California established the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution, which is now observed by the state on January 30 of each year.  

“As we reflect on this anniversary, we must do so with the understanding that history is not static,” said Rep. Matsui. “Seventy-five years ago, Japanese American citizens faced an unimaginable injustice, forced into internment by their own country. Our nation was united in righting this wrong with the passage of the Civil Liberties Act almost 30 years ago. But the mistakes of our past must never be forgotten or normalized. We remain committed to ensuring history does not repeat itself, and vigilant in our defense of justice for all.”

“The Day of Remembrance resolution is to recognize what happened 75 years ago when Executive Order 9066 was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt,” said Rep. Hanabusa. “After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, innocent Japanese Americans were seen as threats to our country almost overnight. When E.O. 9066 was signed, 120,000 innocent Japanese Americans, including my grandfathers, were stripped of their civil liberty and rights, rounded up, and incarcerated. Today, it is more important than ever that we are reminded of this dark past in American history and what happens when we do not practice our American values of due process, acceptance, and fairness.” 

The Day of Remembrance resolution is co-sponsored by: Bordallo, Chu, Cohen, Dingell, Gabbard, Grijalva, Hanabusa, Kilmer, Lee, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Matsui, Nadler, Napolitano, Peters, Roybal-Allard, Schiff, Smith (Adam), Soto, Speier, Swalwell.

The resolution to recognize Fred Korematsu Day is co-sponsored by: Clarke, Green, Gutierrez, Hanabusa, Jayapal, Lee, Lieu, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Meng, Napolitano, Peters, Speier, Velazquez

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