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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 18, 2016

PRESS CONTACTS
Leslie Unger - lunger@janm.org - 213-830-5690

JANM STATEMENT REGARDING THE “PRECEDENT” OF JAPANESE AMERICAN INCARCERATION DURING WORLD WAR II

Los Angeles

The Japanese American National Museum is alarmed by the escalation of rhetoric already taking place in the wake of President-elect Trump’s victory. Citing the unlawful incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II as a “precedent” for the unjust targeting of any group, and especially for the creation of a registry for Muslim Americans in the future is to completely misunderstand one of the most shameful chapters in our nation’s history.

In 1982, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians found that the policy of exclusion, removal, and detention was systematically conducted by the United States government despite the fact that no documented evidence of espionage or sabotage was shown, and there was no direct military necessity for detention. Further, the broad historical causes were found to be “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.” These findings ultimately contributed to the United States government issuing a formal apology and paying reparations to the Japanese Americans it had forcibly removed to concentration camps—the tangible results of the bipartisan passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.

As we have previously stated, the Japanese American National Museum respects the results of the democratic process by which President-elect Trump was chosen to be the next leader of the United States,” said Ann Burroughs, Interim President and CEO of the National Museum. “In addition, the museum remains fervently committed to our mission—to promote understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity—and we will not remain silent when politicians or others in the public realm call upon the tragic history of Japanese Americans in order to stoke fear and deny civil rights to any group. We will not stand by as they cite the unlawful incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II as ‘precedent’ to create a registry for Muslim Americans or target any ethnic group for incarceration.

“In the words of President George H.W. Bush, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor: ‘The internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry was a great injustice, and it will never be repeated.’”

The Japanese American National Museum will do all it can to ensure the truth of that statement. The fact that our vigilance, and that of other organizations and individuals devoted to the protection of civil rights, is still needed some 75 years after the first Japanese Americans were rounded up and detained with no due process is unfortunate. But we are up to the task.

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About the Japanese American National Museum (JANM)

Established in 1985, the Japanese American National Museum promotes understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. Located in the historic Little Tokyo district of downtown Los Angeles, JANM is a hybrid institution that straddles traditional museum categories and strives to provide a voice for Japanese Americans as well as a forum that enables all people to explore their own heritage and culture. Since opening to the public, JANM has presented over 70 exhibitions onsite and traveled 17 of its exhibitions to locations around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Ellis Island Museum in the United States, and several leading cultural museums in Japan and South America.

JANM is located at 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. General admission is $10 adults, $6 students and seniors, free for members and children under age five. Admission is free to everyone on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and every third Thursday of the month from noon to 8 p.m. General admission prices and free admission times may not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions. Closed Monday, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. For more information visit janm.org or call 213.625.0414.

 

 

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