Letter to the Editor, Vancouver Sun Newspaper, March 25, 2016


Fear, history and Japanese Canadians

Re: Lest we forget the ‘Asian Holocaust,’ Column, Feb. 27

Letter to Editor March 25, 2016Co-opting the Holocaust is disrespecting the victims of the Nazis. Also disturbing is Douglas Todd’s assertion the Canadian government was in fear. This false justification for the imprisonment of Canadians of Japanese ancestry contradicts the facts. Both the RCMP and military said there was nothing to fear. This column linking Canadian citizens with the actions of enemy soldiers is akin to the fear mongering perpetuated by the Canadian government in the Second World War.

If everyone did know our history and facts then this letter wouldn’t be necessary. It is misleading to imply “every Canadian” knows all about Japanese Canadians. Students in B.C. don’t even learn about the history of Japanese Canadians in the core curriculum.

The National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) has worked for 70 years, on human rights, redress, and sharing the story of the 22,000 innocent Canadians unfairly labelled enemy aliens. Canadian, not Japanese, children, women, and men were stripped of their rights, had their property stolen, and were put into internment camps.

When we share the history of Japanese Canadians our focus is on understanding, and building welcoming and inclusive communities for all. History should be used to stop the injustice and racism that occurs today, not to cultivate hate.

BEV OHASHI
President, National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC)

LORENE OIKAWA
Co-Chair, NAJC Human Rights Committee