Timeline – JLA Redress Struggle

06/1970 Edison Uno, former internee and civil rights activist, submits a resolution to initiate a national redress campaign, which is unanimously adopted by Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) National Council.
11/1978 The first Day of Remembrance (DOR) pilgrimage and program at Puyallup, WA, commemorates JA internment and galvanizes the redress movement.
08/1979 U.S. Senators Daniel Inouye, Spark Matsunaga, and S.I. Hayakawa introduce S.1647, to establish the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) to investigate and determine whether any wrong was committed by the U.S. government against those American citizens and permanent resident aliens affected by Executive Order 9066, and for other purposes. On 7/31/80, President Jimmy Carter signs the bill to create the CWRIC.
Early 1980s Japanese Peruvian internees and supporters submit verbal and written requests to JA organizations, Congressional representatives, and CWRIC Commissioners, urging inclusion of redress to Japanese Peruvians.
1981 CWRIC holds 11 hearings in 10 cities recording testimonies from over 750 witnesses, including 7 Japanese Peruvian internees.
02/1983 The CWRIC findings and recommendations are published on 2/24/1983, including the wartime experience of Latin Americans, Germans and German Americans, and Aleuts. The CWRIC report, Personal Justice Denied, is submitted to Congress in 06/1983.
08/1988 Civil Liberties Act of 1988 is signed by President Ronald Reagan, mandating an apology and payment of $20,000 to US citizens and permanent residents of Japanese ancestry who were interned, and the establishment of an education fund. JLAs are not specifically excluded under the specific language of the legislation.
1989 Despite 77 comments advocating redress eligibility of JLA internees, the Department of Justice (DOJ) adopts regulations for enforcement of the CLA, whereby JLA internees are excluded because they are classified as “illegal aliens” and not US citizens or permanent residents at time of internment.
10/1990 Eligible former internees of Japanese ancestry begin receiving redress under the CLA of 1988. Due to the DOJ regulations, some JLAs also receive redress under the CLA.
07/1991 Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project (JPOHP) is formed in the San Francisco Bay Area to preserve Japanese Peruvian family histories, educate the public (in the US and internationally) about the JLA wartime experience and provide redress information and referrals to former JLA internees and their families.
08/1993 & 09/1994 JP representatives join redress delegations to Washington, D.C., led by the National Coalition for Redress/Reparations (NCRR) and Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) to discuss concerns with over 2200 denials for redress for JAs and JLAs. These trips mark the first time JPs meet formally with Department of Justice officials and Congressional members regarding JLA redress.
02/1994 & 08/1994 Distribution of information packets, “Unfinished Business – Japanese Latin American Internment: A Case for Redress for Violations of Human Rights During WWII,” at the 1994 Session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and Subcommission on Human Rights, respectively. This marks the first time the JLA issue is brought to the attention an international governmental body and non-governmental organizations. Relations begin to be developed with other groups who have unresolved issues from the WWII period.
06/1995 A proposed technical amendment to the CLA is submitted to Office of Redress Administration/ Department of Justice to expand redress to JA and JLA persons who were born in camp but after the cut-off date of June 30, 1946. The cut-off date should be changed to February 27, 1948, the official date for the last camp (Crystal City Internment Camp) to close. No action was ever taken by the government on this amendment. Later, the government refused to grant redress under the Mochizuki settlement to 2 US citizens born in camp to Japanese Peruvian parents after the erroneous cut-off date.
07/1996 Campaign for Justice: Redress Now For Japanese Latin Americans! (CFJ) is founded by the Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project, National Coalition for Redress & Reparations, Japanese American Citizens League, and American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California (ACLU-SC) to support JLA redress and education efforts.
08/1996 Complaint filed in Carmen Mochizuki, et al. v. USA, in US District Court (Central District), seeking inclusion of JLAs for redress under the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.
03/1997 The first CFJ redress delegation goes to Washington, D.C. to deliver over 4000 letters supporting JLA redress to President Clinton and develop support for JLA redress in Congress and among civil and human rights organizations with DC offices.
11/1997 & 12/1997 CFJ/JPOHP delegations travel to Japan and Peru to update JLA internees in those countries and inform the public about redress efforts, resulting in more redress applications filed.
06/1998 A controversial settlement agreement in the Mochizuki lawsuit is announced, which includes a presidential apology and a one-time per capita compensation payment of $5,000 to each surviving former JLA internee, as long as monies are available in the CLA fund. Former JLA internees must decide whether to accept or opt-out of this settlement agreement.
7/19 – 8/5/1998 – Due to inadequate government notification, CFJ organizes an emergency tour to seven cities in Hawai’i, Japan, Okinawa and Peru to help locate and notify former JLA internees, to assist internees make an informed decision regarding the settlement agreement, and to educate the public.
On 1/7/1999, the judge approves the settlement agreement despite likelihood of insufficient funds to compensate all JLAs.
08/1998 Shima v. Reno (USA) lawsuit is filed in US District Court by one of the original named plaintiffs in the Mochizuki lawsuit who rejected the settlement agreement. This lawsuit seeks equitable redress under constitutional and international law. In 1999, this case was transferred to the Court of Federal Claims and ????. On 5/2/2001, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed this case in an unpublished decision due to statute of limitations, and upheld the lower court’s dismissal of the case. An appeal was not made to the U.S. Supreme Court.
10/1998 NCRR & Suzuki v. USA lawsuit is filed in US District Court, charging government malfeasance for failure to invest the $1.65 billion redress fund as required under the CLA, resulting in an estimated loss of $200 million to the fund for compensation and education purposes. This case could ensure adequate funding for compensation payments to Japanese American and Japanese Latin American internees.
Almost a year later, the case is dismissed, upholding the government position that plaintiffs suffered no legal injury. On 2/15/01, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal, stating “[NCRR’s] claim is not redressable because the fund has been terminated and its administering board no long exists.”
12/1998 Yano v USA lawsuit is filed in US District Court on behalf of a JA born in an internment camp after the 6/30/46 restriction imposed by the CLA and based in international law and citing emotional distress. This case could impact children born in camp to JLA parents before the cut-off date.