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California apologizes for internment

Several Japanese Americans interned during World War II join Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi at the California Capitol in Sacramento on Thursday. Associated Press/Photo by Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee

California apologizes for internment

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday continued a tradition of remembering President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order on Feb. 19, 1942, imprisoning Japanese Americans during World War II. The following day, the California State Assembly unanimously passed a new resolution apologizing for helping the U.S. government send 120,000 Japanese Americans to internment camps.

What difference does the declaration make to Japanese Americans? A former internee, 96-year-old Kiyo Sato, said young people need to know what happened: “We need to remind them that this can’t happen again.” Two of the nation’s 10 internment camps were in California in the mid-1940s. The state Senate will consider a version of the resolution later this year before sending it to the governor.

Dig deeper: Read Sarah Schweinsberg’s report in about a gathering last year of formerly interned Japanese Americans commemorating the U.S. Supreme Court decision that freed them.

Rachel Lynn Aldrich Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.


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Not to take away from the Japanese, but is there a Native American day where we say we are sorry for what we did to them? Just wondering.


I think we went about internment in the wrong way. Like taking away their property was very wrong. Protecting Japanese against retaliation was good, if that's what some thought.

I think people might have turned on Japanese people because of what happened in Hawaii and other places. The Japanese were brutal. They did not consider anyone other than Japanese people as human. Just remembering Japanese prisoner of war camps.