Over 60 years of racist legislation and discrimination in British Columbia (BC) culminated in the province’s critical role in the forced removal, internment, confiscation of property, and forced exile of 22,000 Japanese Canadians during 1942 to 1949. Recent research shows the BC government and its officials were complicit directly and indirectly in the unjust actions leading to the devastation of the Japanese Canadian community.
The Government of British Columbia’s official Apology Motion to Japanese Canadians in 2012 was issued without prior community-wide participation. It did not formally assume responsibility for past injustices and was not followed by redress or legacy initiatives at the time, which many saw as a missed opportunity for meaningful follow-up and healing.
In June 2019, the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) will conduct a series of Japanese Canadian community consultation meetings across BC to provide community members a voice in offering recommendations for redress and legacy initiatives to the Government of British Columbia.
The consultations will identify new opportunities to make visible the history of injustice, support the sustainability of the Japanese Canadian community, and highlight the contributions of Japanese Canadians to creating a just and prosperous society for all.
Though there is only a dwindling number of victims directly affected by internment, the NAJC and Japanese Canadian community members strongly believe that it is a critical time to capture their voices and experiences. Through this process, Japanese Canadians want to ensure that the Government of British Columbia assumes greater responsibility for these injustices and builds a new relationship based on a mutual commitment to an inclusive and equitable province.
The NAJC acknowledges the Government of British Columbia’s interest in resolving its outstanding historic wrongs. At the conclusion of these meetings, the NAJC will collate the inputs and present the Government of British Columbia with its recommendations.
Achieving justice and closure to this dark chapter in BC’s history will signify a most meaningful outcome for all British Columbians, and indeed Canadians more widely, to ensure this injustice is never again committed in Canada.
For a list of community consultation meetings, click HERE.