HomeJapanese AmericanSenator compares impeachment proceedings to incarceration of Japanese Americans. Community in disbelief

Senator compares impeachment proceedings to incarceration of Japanese Americans. Community in disbelief


By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent

Japanese American leaders are reacting with astonishment after U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) compared the impeachment of Donald Trump to the incarceration of Japanese Americans.

” “It looks to me like, so far, the [Democrats] are going to give about as much due process to the president as the federal government gave our Japanese American friends during World War II,” Kennedy said to the Huff Post.

Barbara Takei’s mother and families were both incarcerated during World War II. Her father fought for the U.S. as a member of the 442nd, 522nd Battalion that liberated Dachau.  She has been active in protecting Tule Lake from encroachment by a nearby airport.

“The Senator is sorely in need of a history lesson,” said Takei to AsAmNews. “The only similarity between the failure of due process in the incarceration of 120,000 politically-powerless Japanese Americans during WWII and the on going Ukraine investigation, is the abuse of Presidential power. Japanese Americans were victimized by racism, fear and failed political leadership. Actions we see repeated by a current-day President who wields power to create new targets for scapegoating and victimization.”

Larry Shinagawa is the former director of the Asian American Studies at the University of Maryland. He’s also the son of a Japanese American soldier who was imprisoned at “concentration camps euphemistically called “assembly centers.”

“It was racism and the lack of due process that took away all our possessions, our homes, and tore apart our communities,” said Shinagawa to AsAmNews about the incarceration camps.  “For Senator John Kennedy to compare President Trump’s experience to that of Japanese Americans belittles, demeans, and deflects attention to true victims of racism and intolerance. Shame on Senator Kennedy for likening a privileged White man’s experience to that of Japanese Americans. There is no analogy.  He (Trump) will never know completely because even then, he will not be a victim of racism or the breakdown of democracy. “

Gil Asakawa, the author of Being Japanese American, agreed.

“The gross ignorance of so many people today, including lawmakers such as Sen. Kennedy, is an affront to all people of color, to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and especially to the Japanese American community,” he said to AsAmNews. “It should be noted that not a single Japanese American was convicted of espionage or sabotage during the war. We’ll have to see what crimes the current investigation discovers, and whether, decades from now, there will be the need for an official apology. History will be the final judge.”

Sato Kazuya is president of the Cincinnati chapter of the Japanese American Citizen’s League.

“Senator Kennedy seems to be grasping straws at the impeachment process and President Trump’s position grows worse. I am not sure where the Senator Kennedy got the idea to compare the incomparable, but it seems to have popped out of top of his head.  Japanese Americans should be upset with the tactic used by the Senator,” Kazuya said.

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