FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 15, 2015


Leslie Unger - - 213-830-5690


Statement Regarding Recent Remarks about the Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II

The Japanese American National Museum believes that our nation’s Constitution demands that the civil liberties of all people be preserved. History reminds us that as a nation we must not target any one group—be it racial, ethnic, religious, or based on any other single criteria—and deprive those in the group of freedom and human rights. We strongly caution against rhetoric that purposely provokes unfounded fear of any one group; we know from experience that such rhetoric can lead to hysteria that only impedes meaningful leadership of our democracy. To cite the unlawful incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II as an appropriate action and one that could be emulated today is to completely misunderstand that shameful chapter of history. The United States government itself admitted its error and apologized to those impacted by the unwarranted decisions. Surely the wrongful incarcerations of more than 70 years ago should not be this nation’s roadmap for the complicated situations present today.

The mission of the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) is to promote understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. JANM believes in the importance of remembering Japanese American history to better guard against the prejudice that threatens liberty and equality in a democratic society. This mission grows out of the tragic experience of our community during WWII, when 120,000 Japanese Americans—men, women, and children—were unlawfully removed from their homes on the West Coast and incarcerated in US concentration camps by their own country for the duration of the war.

JANM’s values include preserving individual dignity, strengthening communities, and increasing respect among all people as a means to transform lives and create a more just America and a better world.