reparations for the internment of japanese americans

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by evelynholt
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reparations for the internment of japanese americans

Works Cited"Children of the Camps: Internment History." PBS. The Children of the Camps Project. Web."Civil Liberties Act of 1988." Densho Encyclopedia. Densho Encyclopedia, 12.5.14. Web., Christine. "Japanese Americans Remember Redress." Pacific Citizen. Pacific Citizen, 2.8.13. Web., Irvin. "Senate Votes to Compensate Japanese American Internees." The New York Times Archives. The New York Times, 21.4.88. Web., Clarrissa. "20th Anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act / Japanese Internment During World War II." The Leadership Conference. The Leadership Conference Education Fund, 18.8.08. Web., Bilal. "From Wrong to Right: A US Apology for Japanese Internment." Code Switch. NPR, 9.8.13. Web., Steven. "The Civil Liberties Act of 1988." Dartmouth Education. Dartmouth Education. Web.

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Relation to the Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and SweetThis is the only form of reparations that Keiko and her family would have received for their internment. After returning from internment, the family might have filed for damages on their property under the Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act, but most likely would not have gained any luck through court process. The family would have had to rebuild their fortune and possessions, not being able to regain any of those from before the war. However, a few years after the older Henry discovered the lost possessions of Keiko and her family, Keiko and her little brother would have received $20,000 each, and their parents as well, if they were still alive. The Okabe family most likely would have been overjoyed to see their community restored at last with the signing of the Civil Liberties Act. Keiko probably also would have been glad to learn of the education fund so that her progeny might learn more of their family's suffering without feeling the shame of knowing that their family was thought of as traitors to the country, for the US government admitted that the internment was unjust and not based on any real examples of treachery by any Japanese American.

Government Actions upon RedressThe official government investigation of internment and the appropriate steps for redress began with the congressional committee formed in 1980 for that explicit purpose. The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) made many formal recommendations that were included in the CLA, and coined the phrase of "racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a lack of political leadership" as causes for the incarceration. The investigators published a report called "Personal Justice Denied." Before the formation of the committee, there had been a "period of relative inactivity" following the Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act, signed by President Truman, a fairly ineffective bill that attempted to compensate for loss and damages to the property of Japanese Americans while they were interned, but fell short of its goal when not very many claims were filed, and a small number of these passed through court. (Civil Liberties Act of 1988, Densho Encyclopedia).The effective payment of reparations officially began on October 9, 1990, when nine elderly Japanese Americans were presented with the redress checks of $20,000 and formal apologies signed by President George Bush. From 1991 to 1993, the remaining received their redress payments. However, in 1992, some matters of eligibility were raised, and the CLA was amended to "extend benefits and increase funding by an additional $400 million," to continue the reparation payments to a total of 82,219 Japanese Americans who suffered internment. (Civil Liberties Act of 1988, Densho Encyclopedia) The timely payments were ushered along by a bill in 1990 that stated that all payments would be made in the next three years. The small hiccup that result in the increase of funds occurred when it was discovered that there were about 20,000 more surviving internees that initially projected, but the matter was easily smoothed over with the Civil Liberties Act Amendments of 1992. (The Civil Liberties Act of 1988, Wright).

Reparations for the Internment of Japanese-Americans

U.S. Assistant Deputy Attorney General James Turner presenting a redress check to an Issei man, 105 years old, Oct. 1990, Seattle, Washington

A Japanese American talks on her acceptance of the monetary payment in association with the formal apology for internment

An African American man makes a plea for redress and recalls the painful memory of the internment of his Japanese American friends

The Civil Liberties ActThe Civil Liberties Act, which was signed on August 10, 1988, by President Reagan, was meant to recompensate those Japanese Americans who were sent away to internment camps. The act provided a formal apology to all of those who suffered through internment and a tax-free $20,000 honorarium for surviving internees. (From Wrong to Right, Qureshi). It also provided a fund to "educate the public about the internment" to prevent any similar events from occurring. (20th Anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act, Peterson) The bill brought to light how the Executive Order 9066, which authorized internment, was a mistake with horrific consequences. The congressional commission in 1980 officially declared the internment of these citizens a “grave injustice” motivated by “racial prejudice, war hysteria, and the failure of political leadership.” (From Wrong to Right, Qureshi) However, it took almost 50 years for the CLA to be passed, and many of those who were interned still suffer from mental and physical health problems caused by internment. (Children of the Camps: Internment History, PBS).The vote for the legislation, coined the “Japanese American Redress Bill,” (Children of the Camps: Internment History, PBS) passed overwhelmingly in the senate, with 69 in favor and 27 against. The Japanese American members of congress were overjoyed with the ruling. The order would provide compensation to only half of those who were interned, for only half were still survivors at such a prolonged time from the actual internment. The first year that the bill would be in place would oversee $500 million being dolled out, the next year, $200 million, the following two, $100 million. The measure had to be sent back to the House of Representatives after approval from the senate due to some small changes, but overall, passed without a hitch. The payouts would only go to those people that were still living, and no money would be given to those who were or sought relocation in another country that was at war with the US at the time. The Reagan administration wished for the money to be payed out as $125 million per year for ten years. (Senate Votes to Compensate Japanese-American Internees, Molotsky).

President Reagan signs the Civil Liberties Act, surrounded by enthusiastic onlookers.

By Evelyn Holt

The Campaign for RedressThe push by the Japanese American Community, especially by the Japanese American Citizens League (Japanese Americans Remember Redress, Fukushima) brought about the drafting and approval of the CLA after running a campaign to bring the act into existence for a decade. The JACL brought about the formation of a congressional commission to investigate the internment and options for redress. (Civil Liberties Act of 1988, Densho Encyclopedia) Initially, there was not a major drive for redress for the internment, for it was, traditionally, not the way of the Japanese people to protest, to create a disturbance. The families, shamed by their status as betrayers of the US, wished to quietly return from internment, however, after the Civil Rights Movement, the Japanese American Community, led by John Tateishi, launched a formal campaign for redress. Japanese American members of Congress, such as Robert Matsui, Daniel Inouye, Spark Matsunga, and Norm Mineta, helped to formulate the bill, converting the wishes of the community into legislative language. The Japanese who were directing the movement towards redress were part of the younger generation, and the crusade for redress was for the next generation of Americans, to educate America about the disastrous internment, while at the same time showing that it is never too late to apologize. (From Wrong to Right, Qureshi). The campaign for redress was also a connecting link for the generations, for the older Japanese were looking for an apology for their suffering, the younger Japanese sought for an example of civil rights for their people. (Japanese Americans Remember Redress, Fukushima).

The conference report regarding the Civil Liberties Act and the discussion between the two houses of Congress


  • sunnyinseattle 6 years ago

    sunnyinseattle's avatar

    Wow, nice layout (how'd you make the page so big?). Great writing and graphics!

  • amynoji 6 years ago

    amynoji's avatar

    Beautiful job, Evelyn! Love the layout, except the weathered tags because it's difficult to read your great findings and writings. Your pictures and videos are very thoughtful and informative. Lastly, your connection to the book is thorough and helpful.

    Maybe a short introduction giving a very basic introduction to the topic would have been helpful.

    Great job! I nominated your glog to the Glogpedia!