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Debate Over Paying Reparations to Japanese-American Internees

April 30, 1988

As a Japanese-American born and reared in Southern California on farms growing strawberries in Compton, Torrance, El Segundo, Bell, Downey, Rosemead and Monrovia (1920-1942), I wish to commend you on your supportive editorial "Another Chance for Healing" (April 22).

Your hopes of President Ronald Reagan ignoring the advice he is receiving against signing the bill which is coming across his desk to redress one of the great injustices in our American history, has renewed my early school-days' pledge to the flag of our great nation with the promise of "justice for all."

I acknowledge that Japanese-Americans were not the only ones to suffer hurt and losses of property and lives due to World War II, but our suffering was unique in that our constitutional rights of liberty were violated.

Our indignities and sufferings were not limited to our forcible eviction and evacuation from the West Coast without trial or due process of law, but they go back to our parents who were denied the right to become naturalized American citizens like others coming from Europe; to purchase land and be accepted to build a better America. Furthermore, though hardly anyone so desired, those who were single were legally forbidden to marry a Caucasian person. Japanese-Americans were reared within these hostile, contradictory, discriminatory tensions with feelings of low self-esteem as American citizens.

In spite of our unjust history, largely due to the heroic sacrifices of Japanese-American volunteers in the Army's 442nd and 100th Combat Teams and others, these anti-Japanese-American laws were removed.

HARRY H. MURAKAMI

Sepulveda

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