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The Lengthy Process of Redress for Japanese Americans After the surprise attack of the Japanese on Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941 the United States grew concerned that people of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast would revolt and aid the Japanese war effort and were considered security risks On February 19 1942 President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 giving the War Department authority to establish military areas in which designated people would be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War may impose As a result officials declared the entire Pacific Coast a military area and forced approximately 120000 people of Japanese descent from their homes and into guarded relocation centers in Arizona California Oregon and Washington Two-thirds of the evacuees were American citizens and many lost their homes and businesses as a result of the internment The directive remained official policy until December 1944 Patton 72 While many people have at least some knowledge of this Japanese internment the postwar Japanese American effort to win redress and its high point of the 1980s is not that well known The process of apology and redress was very drawn out and it was not until over forty years after internment that a formal apology was given to Japanese Americans With this apology though delayed most would assume that the government has learned a lesson from its past errors However it is important to consider if the anti-Japanese hysteria of the 1940s that led to Japanese-Americans being imprisoned in internment camps could be repeated today especially with Muslim-Americans in the war against terrorism The internment of Japanese American citizens and resident aliens was not just an odd wartime event but also a climax of a long history of racism and discrimination on the West Coast directed against Asian immigrants Those from China felt the first effects of this sentiment in the second half of the 1800s culminating in the federal Chinese
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