California to atone for Japanese internment

Source:AFP Published: 2020/2/19 18:47:46

People attend the 76th Commemoration on Pearl Harbor Attack at the Navy Memorial Plaza in Washington DC, the Unite States, on Dec. 7, 2017. Japan launched a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor naval base on the island of Oahu in Hawaii in 1941, killing more than 2,400 US military personnel and civilians. The next day, then President Franklin Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war against Japan, which launched the American involvement in World War II. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

Nearly 80 years after the US authorized the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, California plans to formally apologize this week for its role in one of the darkest chapters in US history.

State lawmakers are set to vote on Thursday on a resolution that states that the California legislature apologizes for "the unjust exclusion, removal, and incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and for its failure to support and defend the civil rights and civil liberties of Japanese-Americans."

More than 120,000 Japanese-Americans were sent to 10 concentration camps throughout western states and Arkansas during World War II after president Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order.

The February 19, 1942 order came just two months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

"The apology is especially pertinent now with President Trump in office," Democratic assembly member Al Muratsuchi told AFP in a statement.

"What I hear over and over from the Japanese-American community is about how bothered they are about what is happening at our borders with children and families held in cages, being torn apart."

The federal government apologized in 1988 for the forced removals that lasted up to 1945, and granted compensation to survivors.

Muratsuchi, who is Japanese-American, said it was essential for California to atone for its past mistakes given the role the state played.



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