Japanese American internment

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Japanese-American internment was the relocation and internment by the United States government in 1942 of approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese who lived along the Pacific coast of the United States to camps called "War Relocation Camps," in the wake of Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.[1][2] The internment of Japanese Americans was applied unequally throughout the United States. Japanese Americans who lived on the West Coast of the United States were all interned, while in Hawaii, where more than 150,000 Japanese Americans composed over one-third of the territory's population, 1,200[3] to 1,800 Japanese Americans were interned.[4] Of those interned, 62% were American citizens.[5][6]

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt authorized the internment with Executive Order 9066, issued February 19, 1942, which allowed local military commanders to designate "military areas" as "exclusion zones," from which "any or all persons may be excluded." This power was used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the entire Pacific coast, including all of California and most of Oregon and Washington, except for those in internment camps.[7] In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the exclusion orders,[8] while noting that the provisions that singled out people of Japanese ancestry were a separate issue outside the scope of the proceedings.[9] The United States Census Bureau assisted the internment efforts by providing confidential neighborhood information on Japanese Americans. The Bureau's role was denied for decades but was finally proven in 2007.[10][11]

In 1988, Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed legislation which apologized for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government. The legislation said that government actions were based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership".[12] The U.S. government eventually disbursed more than $1.6 billion in reparations to Japanese Americans who had been interned and their heirs.[13]

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