The internment of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II was the forced relocation and incarceration in concentration camps in the western interior of the country of about 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, most of whom lived on the Pacific Coast. Sixty-two percent of the internees were United States citizens. These actions were ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt shortly after Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.Of 127,000 Japanese Americans living in the continental United States at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, 112,000 resided on the West Coast. About 80,000 were Nisei (literal translation: "second generation"; American-born Japanese with U.S. citizenship) and Sansei ("third generation"; the children of Nisei). The rest were Issei ("first generation") immigrants born in Japan who were ineligible for U.S. citizenship under U.S. law.Japanese Americans were incarcerated based on local population concentrations and regional politics. More than 112,000 Japanese Americans living on the West Coast were forced into interior camps. However, in Hawaii, where 150,000-plus Japanese Americans composed over one-third of the population, only 1,200 to 1,800 were also interned. The internment is considered to have resulted more from racism than from any security risk posed by Japanese Americans. California defined anyone with 1/16th or more Japanese lineage as sufficient to be interned. Colonel Karl Bendetsen, the architect behind the program, went so far as saying anyone with "one drop of Japanese blood" qualified.Roosevelt authorized Executive Order 9066, issued on February 19, 1942, which allowed regional military commanders to designate "military areas" from which "any or all persons may be excluded." Although the executive order did not mention Japanese Americans, this authority was used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were required to leave Alaska and the military exclusion zones from all of California and parts of Oregon, Washington, and Arizona, except for those in government camps. Internment was not limited to those of Japanese ancestry, but included a relatively smaller number—though still totalling well over ten thousand—of people of German and Italian ancestry and Germans deported from Latin America to the U.S. Approximately 5,000 Japanese Americans relocated outside the exclusion zone before March 1942, while some 5,500 community leaders had been arrested immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack and thus were already in custody.The United States Census Bureau assisted the internment efforts by spying and providing confidential neighborhood information on Japanese Americans. The Bureau denied its role for decades despite scholarly evidence to the contrary, and its role became more widely acknowledged by 2007. In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the removal by ruling against Fred Korematsu's appeal for violating an exclusion order. The Court limited its decision to the validity of the exclusion orders, avoiding the issue of the incarceration of U.S. citizens without due process.In 1980, under mounting pressure from the Japanese American Citizens League and redress organizations, President Jimmy Carter opened an investigation to determine whether the decision to put Japanese Americans into concentration camps had been justified by the government. He appointed the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) to investigate the camps. The Commission's report, titled Personal Justice Denied, found little evidence of Japanese disloyalty at the time and concluded that the incarceration had been the product of racism. It recommended that the government pay reparations to the internees. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 which apologized for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government and authorized a payment of $20,000 (equivalent to $43,000 in 2019) to each camp survivor. The legislation admitted that government actions were based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership." The U.S. government eventually disbursed more than $1.6 billion (equivalent to $3,460,000,000 in 2019) in reparations to 82,219 Japanese Americans who had been interned and their heirs.
View More On Wikipedia.org