State Watch

California to offer apology for internment of Japanese Americans during WWII

California lawmakers are set to vote for a resolution on Thursday that would formally apologize for the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

The date marks the 78th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt's executive order No. 9066, now celebrated by Japanese Americans as a day of remembrance, The Associated Press reported.

The California resolution, unlike a 1988 formal apology by the federal government, will not include any financial compensation but specifically addresses the state's support of the internment.

"I want the California Legislature to officially acknowledge and apologize while these camp survivors are still alive," said Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D), who was born in Japan and introduced the resolution.

In addition to two camps in the state, at Manzanar and Tule Lake, Muratsuchi said the state was ground zero for much of the nation's anti-Japanese prejudice, even before World War II, citing the 1913 California Alien Land Law, which targeted Japanese farmers in the state, and the state banning anyone of Japanese descent from buying farmland seven years later.

"We like to talk a lot about how we lead the nation by example," he said. "Unfortunately, in this case, California led the racist anti-Japanese American movement." He said the measure, co-sponsored with California Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron, was inspired by migrant children held in U.S. custody over the last year, the AP reported.

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