Japanese-American Families Call State's Internment Camp Apology ‘Too Little, Too Late'

California Legislature expected to apologize for Japanese-American Internment Camps

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Mits Kawamoto’s face didn’t move.

Lillian Horiuchi didn’t even know about it.

Roy Muraoka wishes his dad was here to hear it.

All three are part of the Japanese-American community that’s expected to receive an apology this week from the State of California. The legislature is expected to approve a resolution Thursday apologizing for the state’s role in supporting an executive order from President Franklin D. Roosevelt directing the placement of thousands of Japanese-American families in internment camps during World War II.

It doesn’t really mean much to me.

Mits Kawamoto, San Diego

Kawamoto was only 9 years old when her family was sent to a camp in Arizona. She said her parents shielded her from the truth.

“But as I got older and realized the injustice of it all,” said the San Diego resident.

“Some parts of me are resentful,” said Lillian Horiuchi. She was 13. Her brother Roy Muraoka was 12.

Their father Saburo Muraoka was forced to leave his Chula Vista business and home behind. The Muraoka family was sent to a camp in Texas. They later returned to Chula Vista and rebuilt their lives. Saburo Muraoka Elementary School in the Chula Vista Elementary School District is believed to be the only school named after a Japanese-American who was sent to an internment camp.

His children Lillian and Roy said the apology from the state is disappointing because their father can’t hear it.

“Our parents are all gone, most of them are all gone,” said Horiuchi.

 “They’re the ones that suffered the most,” added her brother.

“For California to do that now is, it doesn’t really mean much to me,” said Kawamoto. “Too little too late.”

She said she’d rather the state focus on making sure the camps are never forgotten and never repeated.

Wednesday is the Day of Remembrance for Japanese-Americans. It marks the day President Roosevelt signed the executive order creating the internment camps.

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