Japanese American National Museum
Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 6, 2018

Leslie Unger - - 213-830-5690


Los Angeles

Two years ago, the Los Angeles Times published two letters that attempted to justify the forced removal and unlawful incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry in the Western United States during World War II. After appropriate outcry from other readers and leaders in the Japanese American community—including the Japanese American National Museum—the newspaper’s then publisher and editor-in-chief, Davan Maharaj, said the letters should not have been published because they did not meet the newspaper’s standards for “civil, fact-based discourse.”

But here we go again.

The Times just recently published another letter that defended President Franklin Roosevelt’s actions that directly led to the forced removal incarceration of 120,000 during the war. Mr. Maharaj and many others at the newspaper have left since the 2016 incident but that’s no excuse for a media outlet of such influence and importance to forget or be ignorant of key parts of this nation’s history: that the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians found that the broad historical causes for the policy of exclusion, removal, and detention were “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.” Those findings ultimately contributed to the United States government issuing a formal apology and paying reparations to surviving Japanese Americans through the bipartisan passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. That act was signed by President Ronald Reagan, who said at the signing, “We gather here today to right a grave wrong.”

President Roosevelt’s actions were wrong. It’s as simple as that. The Times must acknowledge that it has again published a letter that does not meet its standards and commit itself to preventing any such future publications.

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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 80 exhibitions onsite and traveled 20 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 $12 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 or call 213.625.0414.



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