California apologizes for internment of 120,000 of Japanese-Americans during World War II, to pass resolution
Japanese-born Democratic Assembly member Al Muratsuchi introduces resolution which has found bipartisan support. 'Star Trek' actor George Takei hails move saying it was long overdue
In an effort to meet retrospective justice, the lawmakers of California are likely to pass a resolution slamming the Golden State’s role in the US’ internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during the Second World War (1939-45).
It was in 1942 that the then president Franklin D Roosevelt had given an executive order leading to incarcerations at 10 camps, two of which were in California. The Order No. 9066 establishing the camps was signed on February 19 the same year and is now remembered by the Japanese Americans as a Day of Remembrance.
Al Muratsuchi, a Democratic Assembly member from California, introduced the resolution to apologize for California’s role in carrying out the US government’s internment of the Japanese-Americans. Besides the Japan-born lawmaker, a similar resolution will also be brought up before the state’s Senate by Democratic Senator Richard Pan.
Muratsuchi said, according to a report in Daily Mail, the state would be apologizing for a time when “California led the racist anti-Japanese American movement”. “We like to talk a lot about how we lead the nation by example,” he said.
The move garnered bipartisan support which is not a common occurrence.
'Star Trek' actor George Takei welcomes move
The California legislators’ move was welcomed by veteran actor of ‘Star Trek’ fame George Takei whose family had featured among those who were interned. The 82-year-old, who was just five at the time, tweeted on Sunday: “Welcome, yet long overdue”.
The tweet from ‘Hikaru Sulu’ on the Star Trek television series in the 1960s and '70s also included a famous quote from Martin Luther King Junior, saying: “'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
Takei, a widely followed figure on Twitter, uses his platform to blast President Donald Trump. The gay actor has even slammed Trump’s hardline immigration policies to FDR’s executive order that had rounded up the Japanese-Americans in the early 1940s.
In June 2018, when Americans were reacting to the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the border, Takei likened it to the internment of Japanese Americans decades ago.
In a piece that he wrote in Foreign Policy magazine around the same time, Takei said: “At least during the internment, when I was just five years old, I was not taken from my parents.”
During the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of Japanese Americans were rounded up over the fear that they would side with Tokyo during the war.
In 1983, a Congressional commission came to the conclusion that the detentions happened because of “racial prejudice, war hysteria, and failure of political leadership”.
In 1988, the US government made a formal apology and paid $20,000 in reparations to each victim.