BC Redress Update

L to R, Lorene Oikawa, John Horgan, Susanne Tabata. Premier Horgan is holding a photo of himself with George Takei. Premier Horgan said he was deeply moved by the story of Japanese American George Takei's incarceration during the Second World War and he knows that Japanese Canadians have similar powerful stories in the dark history of BC.

by Susanne Tabata

The NAJC is currently in talks with the BC provincial government to determine a set of legacy initiatives for the community. On July 9, 2020 the NAJC met to present a list of NAJC BC Redress Legacy Initiatives to the BC Premier’s office Chief of Staff Geoff Meggs and Hon. Minister of Citizens’ Services Anne Kang. Presenting at the meeting were Paul Kariya, Lorene Oikawa, and Susanne Tabata. Premier John Horgan dropped in on the meeting to voice his support for our community.

Additional analysis is being provided by Dr. Audrey Kobayashi for population data; and further fiscal analysis is being done by the Institute of Fiscal Studies in Democracy in Ottawa – under the direction of Kevin Page & Sahir Kahn. 

The NAJC will provide a more detailed update in the fall. Herein is a progress report. 


The five key areas are: health & wellness; combatting racism & acknowledgement; education; heritage assets + living heritage; culture & community building.

The list of ‘asks’ – extracted from a report written by Susanne Tabata & Paul Noble – follow months of research in the community to validate original themes in the November 15, 2019 Recommendations Report. The original report consisted of themes: education; combatting racism; public awareness through memorialization; funding to support community programming, health and wellness; and the importance of a formal acknowledgement of the province’s role. 


This presentation to the BC Government was the culmination of the following events:

• November 15, 2019 – Submission of Redressing Historical Wrongs Community Consultations Report presented along 5 themes: education; combatting racism; public awareness through memorialization; funding to support community programming, health and wellness; and the importance of a formal acknowledgement of the province’s role. 

• January 2020 – several informal meetings with Liberal and NDP MLAs and Ministers in their offices to introduce them to the NAJC’s project.

• January 2020 – Commencement of meetings with BC Japanese Canadian community organizations and individuals to validate asks along original five themes.

• February 7, 2020 – NAJC meeting with TAC Assistant Deputy Minister Asha Baht to review government’s response to report. (Notes received from Government on March 13)

• May 1, 2020 – Delivery to NAJC National Executive Board and BC Redress Strat Team of 37 page report BC Redress Asks Development Political & Communications Road Map written by Paul Noble and Susanne Tabata (forthcoming public facing report will be published in the fall).


Building on the work of the 2019 community consultations and Redressing Historical Wrongs Community Consultations Report, the ‘asks’ reflect input from all BC Japanese Canadian community stakeholders and are inclusive of the feedback from the BC Government to the initial report. These consultations were conducted by Susanne Tabata and Paul Noble.

A challenge in developing the asks was to be able to align the thematic suggestions taken from individual consultations , with the community organization which would be administering any particular ‘ask’. In addition the reasonableness of the ‘ask’ was measured. 

A vast majority of stakeholders want to have access to a community fund for their projects and programming. Some organizations with infrastructure in place were able to articulate specific projects. 

The NAJC is mindful of the relationships that certain organizations have with the BC Government – ie: initiatives led by Laura Saimoto of the Vancouver Japanese Language School – and takes a position of support and non-interference.

The NAJC is also aware that any negotiations for the Powell Street neighbourhood must be directed through the subcommittee of JCs working with the City of Vancouver, as directed by the BC Government in response to the original recommendations report. In addition, the Powell Street Festival Society has taken a clear position to not ‘ask’ for a building in the area. 

The NAJC recognizes that there is a large percentage of the community who lives outside of BC as a result of these historical wrongs. To that end we are supporting the construction of a monument which names all JCs who were removed from the coast; advocating for a exportable seniors’ health package to include culturally competent care; supporting the development of education tools which can be digitally accessed; and promoting the support of the digital hub for archives.

Most importantly, the NAJC recognizes the work done by the Apology Legacy Committee – Tosh Suzuki and Roy Inouye – which led to the 2012 BC Apology as presented by MLA Naomi Yamamoto. Any additional acknowledgement by the BC government would build on this apology. 

Our goal was to address blind spots in the community, and to ensure that the NAJC is very clear about its position with respect to representing the interests of individuals and organizations in our BC communities, and by extension – our community nationwide. Our list of engagement includes the following consultations: 

• Steveston Community – Kelvin Higo

• Dan Nomura

• GVJCCA – Judy Hanazawa & Kathy Shimizu

• NAJC Toronto Chapter – Lynn Kobayashi & Ron Shimizu

• Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society – Tsugio Kurushima

• Vernon Japanese Cultural Society – Rick Ogasawara

• Kamloops Japanese Canadian Association – George Uyeda

• 7 Potatoes/Ucluelet Museum – Eiko Eby

• Nikkei National Museum – Sherri Kajiwara

• Nikkei Cultural Centre – Karah Goshinmon

• Nikkei Seniors – Ruth Coles

• Nikkei Seniors – Cathy Makihara

• Tonari Gumi – David Iwassa

• Powell Street Festival Society – Emiko Morita

• Vancouver Japanese Language School – Laura Saimoto

• New Denver – Mayor Leonard Casley

• Simon Fraser University – Kirsten McAllister 

• University of Victoria – Karen Kobayashi, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences

• Landscapes of Injustice, UVic – Jordan Stanger Ross

• Howard Shimokura 

• Hastings Park – Dan Tokawa


The ‘asks’ as currently presented are minus dollar values although there are cost estimates currently under evaluation. Once final analysis has taken place, figures will be published in September. Health and Wellness requires the most financial resources. 


Making the case for targeted funding for health and social care programs and services for JC older adults in BC

Prepared by: Karen M. Kobayashi, PhD, Associate Dean Research and Graduate Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor, Department of Sociology, Research Fellow, Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health, University of Victoria

March 20, 2020

Unlike other visible minority older adults (65+ years) in British Columbia, Japanese Canadians are largely a post-immigrant group. This means that the majority of Japanese Canadian older adults are Canadian-born. A large, but rapidly decreasing (due to passing), proportion of this group are the nisei (second generation) who experienced the wartime internment at young ages (<15 years). Although English-speaking and very much Canadian in their expressed ethnic identity, the nisei retain a connection to Meiji era norms, values, and beliefs, the underpinnings of their issei (first generation) parents’ culture. As they have aged, the nisei, have started to talk about their life course experiences, piecing together memories of dispossession, forced removal and relocation, and family separation and break-down. The trauma of the internment, and the events leading up to and following it, are slowly emerging after years of silence. This has been prompted and shepherded by sansei (third generation) children and yonsei (fourth generation) grandchildren through community initiatives encouraging intergenerational conversations as a way to discuss mental health issues. In order to address the unique health and social care needs of Japanese Canadian older adults, an increasing number of whom are sansei, targeted funding for programs and services is being requested from the BC government. This request is urgent. For decades, Japanese Canadian community organizations in the Lower Mainland, the Interior, and on the Island, have provided volunteer-driven programs and services for their older adult members to promote aging-in-place, person-centred dementia care, and other government cost-saving initiatives. Community leaders who request funding to support these efforts have been told to work with “other Asian groups” like the Vietnamese and Filipinos to develop and run programs as their “numbers are too small” to warrant targeted resources. Such a response has and continues to reflect the ignorance of funders, including municipal and provincial governments, to the diverse needs, according to socio-demographic and historical experiences, of older adults in these communities. Indeed, the suggestion that Japanese Canadian community-based service providers in BC, due to the size of their client base, band together with other groups to address health and social care issues is insulting. It represents a failure to recognize the salience of the historical oppression experienced by the nisei on their mental well-being, and the lasting effects that this has had on their adult sansei children. An acknowledgement that this has happened is not enough. As a form of redress, we respectfully request that a community health and social care fund for Japanese Canadian seniors be established. Such a fund would help to ensure that those who experienced the internment and their descendants have access to government-supported programs and services as they age that their parents and grandparents never did. 


• Provide sustainable funding for person-based, culturally- competent care for survivors including aging in place, meals on wheels, visitation programs, social programming, transportation, day programs in existing facilities (e.g. Iki Iki – culturally-appropriate, dementia-friendly programming) and direct financial support to Japanese Canadian seniors where needed. 

• Bring together service providers and experts and fund the development of a model to connect survivors in smaller communities to culturally-appropriate health and wellness programming and resources, including provincial mental health funding. 

• Fund existing Japanese Canadian service organizations to implement and scale this model. 

• Provide funding support for additional culturally-competent housing options in communities with high concentrations of Japanese Canadian seniors, including both independent and assisted living options. 


• Establish a working group between the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, Ministry of Health, and Japanese Canadian community to: 

Develop a directory of mental health professionals capable of providing culturally-appropriate care for internment survivors and their families, including work on intergenerational trauma, therapeutic storytelling (not for heritage or archival purposes), and peer support training for members of the community. 

Develop and implement a community-led outreach and referral strategy to ensure uptake amongst survivors and their families. 

• Provide direct and ongoing provincial funding through BC’s Medical Services Plan for mental health services for internment survivors and their families to promote wellness amongst current and future generations of Japanese Canadians. 

• Provide funding for the creation of community gathering programs and community-led workshops for intergenerational dialogue that bring together older and younger Japanese Canadians, and both pre-war and post- war families, to create spaces for sharing stories, culture and healing.



To guarantee the preservation of a core anti-racism function, and ensure continuity from one Human Rights Commissioner to the next, a legislated anti-racism power and legislated permanent Anti-Racism Working Group should be added under section 47 of the BC Human Rights Code. Legislate the establishment, staffing and funding of a permanent Anti- Racism Working Group within the Office of the BC Human Rights Commissioner dedicated to proactive anti-racism and anti-hate research, monitoring and reporting to police, media and public. The Working Group would be led by a OHRC secretariat, and made up of representatives of communities that have faced, or continue to face, racism in BC, including Japanese Canadians. The ARWG would provide a core inoculation function against future systemic racism by initiating investigations into the political and social conditions that have given rise to systemic racism and racist acts in BC’s history, including denial of Indigenous title and rights, the internment and dispossession of Japanese Canadians, the Chinese head tax, Komagata Maru and others. 

Add JC representation to advisory of Resilience BC and the Multicultural Advisory Council.


• Designate a Commemorative Day once redress is negotiated and host an event in the Hall of Honor. To accompany this, work with the Japanese Canadian community and Japanese Canadian artists to establish a monument of permanence at the BC Legislature or in Vancouver with names of the 21,460 (approx.) Japanese Canadian internees. Donate replicas to cities where Japanese Canadians were sent after the war. 

• The research to complete the list of names would be done within the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Victoria. The Landscapes of Injustice project has some data collected in this area, which requires disambiguation and further research. 2-3 graduate students would be employed to complete the work. The NAJC has asked for replicas of this memorial to be produced for the regions outside of BC where the community has a foothold. 

EDUCATION (since the delivery of this ask, the details for K-12 education have been refined and are not reflected here)


• Work with the Japanese Canadian community to update Grade 5 Social Studies curriculum to make the internment, dispossession and dispersal of Japanese Canadians from 1942 – 1949 a standalone component within “human rights and responses to discrimination in Canadian society” unit. (needs enabling legislation) 

• Work with the Japanese Canadian community to update Grade 10 Social Studies curriculum to make the internment, dispossession and dispersal of Japanese Canadians from 1942 – 1949 a standalone component within “discriminatory policies and injustices in Canada and the world” unit. (needs enabling legislation).

• Work with Japanese Canadian community to design provincially-funded professional development training workshops and classroom materials for BC School Districts and teachers to maximize impact of the updated curriculum. Ensure resources are made available online and available to teachers outside BC. Provide provincial support to aid the community with outreach to the BCTF’s, School Boards’ and BC schools’ PD programs to ensure uptake. 

• Fund the development of curriculum packs and teacher resources to be used in all BC public schools and shared with all Canadian provinces and territories and developed through NNMHC and Landscapes of Injustice. 


• to be presented in September’s article.



Fund annual scholarships to Japanese Canadian students at the graduate level. The community will create an awarding committee of Japanese Canadian scholars to establish awards, and emphasis will be placed on work that strengthens the Japanese Canadian academic community, with priority given to research that focuses on the Japanese Canadian experience, including intergenerational studies and intergenerational trauma, adverse childhood experiences and mental health, and social justice and human rights. 


• Fund markers and interpretive information for the sites where the communicated originated eg. Prince Rupert, Maple Ridge, Steveston, Ucluelet, Clayoquot Island etc. 

• Vancouver Japanese Language School Interpretive Centre (with matching funds) 

• Ucluelet Museum, NewDenver Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre, Cumberland Museum and Cemetery, Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre supporting endowments for staff. 

• Lillooet – Annual operation budget, qualified staffing as well as ample funds to achieve necessary repairs of the Miyazaki House to prevent long term damage and develop Miyazaki House to serve as a cultural historical educational resource for both local public as well as for tourists 

• Fund restoration of Chemainus Japanese Canadian murals 

• Fund restoration of historic Japanese Canadian gardens at Nitobe Memorial Garden (Victoria), Momiji Garden at Hastings Park (Vancouver) & New Denver, Lillooet, Hope and the Gulf Islands. (Ministry of Forests / can be funded) 


• Fund the creation of a Japanese Canadian Heritage Tourism program including Tashme, Lillooet & New Denver – led by VJLS & NNMCC. 

• Fund the creation of a Japanese Canadian Digital Hub for records, pre-internment and survivor histories, and archives including detailed historical ownership records. 


Infrastructure Grants help build Japanese Canadian cultural facilities, with an emphasis on capital upgrades that create inclusive cultural spaces and multi-use community assets that will be able to regenerate, repurpose, bring in new funds and create new activity in their communities. 

Community Grants Fund community-focused programming and outreach to create space for people to reclaim their culture and connect with one another to build a stronger Japanese Canadian community (e.g. intergenerational programming, teaching cultural practices free Japanese language training for Japanese Canadians). 

Youth Social Entrepreneur Grants for younger Japanese Canadians. Create a committee of community members with relevant expertise to award and evaluate grants and to support grantees. 

Japanese Canadian Future Fund Invest in innovative training, skills and business development for younger Japanese Canadians outside of academia, including technology, design, trades and vocational schools, manufacturing, craft food production, etc. 

Capacity Building Grants to core Japanese Canadian community organizations & NAJC chapters 

Create an annual Homecoming Grant for Japanese Canadians across Canada to visit BC Create outreach and organize annual trips during Powell Street Festival combined with Heritage tours of historical sites in BC 

Arts Grants to support Japanese Canadian theatre, novels, film, storytelling & fine arts, 

Sustaining funds for Powell Street Festival Society to support the programming work of the Powell Street Festival Society in the Historic Powell Street neighbourhood. 

Figures will be published in the September Bulletin.

Any questions can be directed to [email protected], Susanne Tabata.  

The NAJC is withholding any further updates until after the BC election, when non-partisan talks will resume.  Thank you for your patience.

The National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) collaborated with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives to produce this publication which is a compilation of opinion pieces from December 2019 and written by John Price. The publication date was to be earlier this year, but plans were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic also slowed down processes for the National Association of Japanese Canadians. The NAJC has used the time to do a considerable amount of work including a deeper dive on the NAJC report, Recommendations for Redressing Historical Wrongs Against Japanese Canadians in BC, which was presented to the BC Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, on November 14, 2019. We conducted provincial stakeholder engagement to further develop and clarify our recommendations. We received a response to our report from the provincial government and incorporated their feedback. Specific asks will include a number of initiatives in health and mental wellness; culture and community building; education; heritage; and acknowledgement and combatting racism. These specific asks will be presented to the BC government at upcoming meetings.

Thank you to John Price and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives for this collaboration. The NAJC works to raise awareness about the history of Japanese Canadians and anti-Asian racism, so that people can learn and work to create the inclusive thriving society we desire, free from systemic racism, and equity for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.

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Photo courtesy Tosh Kitagawa

NAJC Delivers Report to BC Government

A delegation from the National Association of Japanese Canadians met with the B.C. Government on Friday, November 15 to hand-deliver a report recommending key actions to address the historic wrongs committed against Japanese Canadians. The report, Recommendations for Redressing Historical Wrongs Against Japanese Canadians in BC, presents the results of months of community consultations with hundreds of Japanese Canadians about initiatives government could undertake as meaningful follow up to a 2012 Motion of Apology in the BC legislature.

“The Japanese Canadian community recognizes and appreciates the symbolic apology made by the B.C. government in 2012”, said Oikawa. “However, no meaningful action followed that apology. This report examines what is needed to rebuild the Japanese Canadian community, including reclaiming a physical presence in the cities in which we were erased, and ensure what happened to us never happens again to Canadians of any ethnicity or orientation. This is an opportunity for us to foster positive changes that not only pay tribute to Japanese Canadians but benefit B.C. society as a whole.”


Minister’s statement on the National Association of Japanese Canadians’ report

Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture has issued the following statement after receiving the National Association of Japanese Canadians’ report, Recommendations for Redressing Historical Wrongs Against Japanese Canadians in BC: Community Consultation:

“We recognize the significant harm that came to Japanese Canadians as a result of provincial government actions before, during and after the Second World War.

“That's why we provided $30,000 to support the National Association of Japanese Canadians in holding a series of meetings that would provide a forum for community members to offer their recommendations for legacy initiatives.

“I want to thank the National Association of Japanese Canadians, as well as everyone who took part in the meetings, for their contributions in these consultations. This is important work, and I was pleased to formally receive the report today.

“The report includes detailed recommendations on how we can move forward together and properly acknowledge the hardship people suffered as a result of government actions.

“We are now taking the time to carefully review the recommendations. Once this is completed, I look forward to continuing to work with the association on a plan for legacy initiatives that bring awareness to these historic wrongs and make sure they never happen again.”

Original Link


Please click this link to view or download the complete report, Recommendations for Redressing Historical Wrongs Against Japanese Canadians in BC Community (PDF, 7 MB)

(click to open or right click to download the PDF to your computer)



Please click this link to view or download the complete Appendices of the Recommendations for Redressing Historical Wrongs Against Japanese Canadians in BC Community Consultations Report (PDF, 9.2 MB)

(click to open or right click to download the PDF to your computer)


BC Redress Resources

Community Consultations Resource | Discriminatory Legislation in BC 1895 to 1936 | Discriminatory Legislation in BC, 1872 to 1948

click to view PDF files or right click to download

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.

Online Consultations

Tuesday, August 20, 2019
7:00 PM PDT
8:00 PM MDT
9:00 PM CDT
10:00 PM EDT

Internet Videoconference using Zoom
Intended for Residents of British Columbia


Sunday, August 18, 2019
5:00 PM PDT
6:00 PM MDT
7:00 PM CDT
8:00 PM EDT

Internet Videoconference using Zoom
Intended for Residents living outside of British Columbia


Monday June 24, 2019
6:30pm PDT
7:30pm MDT
8:30pm CDT
9:30pm EDT

Internet Videoconference using Zoom
Intended for Residents of British Columbia


Wednesday, June 26, 2019
4:30pm PDT
5:30pm MDT
6:30pm CDT
7:30pm EDT

Internet Videoconference using Zoom
Intended for Residents living outside of British Columbia


Tuesday July 9, 2019
6:30pm PDT
7:30pm MDT
8:30pm CDT
9:30pm EDT

Internet Videoconference using Zoom
Intended for Residents of British Columbia


Wednesday, July 17, 2019
4:30pm PDT
5:30pm MDT
6:30pm CDT
7:30pm EDT

Internet Videoconference using Zoom
Intended for Residents living outside of British Columbia


Community Consultations

Monday, August 12, 2019
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM


Ottawa Japanese Cultural Centre
2285 St Laurent Blvd. Unit #B16
Ottawa, ON

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
3:00 PM to 5:30 PM

New Denver

Knox Hall
521 6th Avenue
New Denver, BC

Sunday, July 21, 2019
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM


Edmonton Japanese Community Association Centre
6750 88 Street
Edmonton, AB

Saturday, June 15, 2019
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM


Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre
6688 Southoaks Crescent
Burnaby, BC

Tuesday, June 18, 2019
7:00 PM to 9:30 PM


Kamloops Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
160 Vernon Avenue
Kamloops, BC

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
7:00 PM to 9:30 PM


Vernon Japanese Cultural Centre
4895 Bella Vista Road
Vernon, BC

Thursday, June 20, 2019
7:00 PM to 9:30 PM


Hinode Home (Common Room)
1920 Burtch Road
Kelowna, BC

Saturday, June 22, 2019
11:00 AM to 2:00 PM


Christ Community Church
2221 Bowen Road
Nanaimo, BC

Saturday, June 22, 2019
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM


Archie Browning Sport Centre
1151 Esquimalt Road
Victoria, BC

Thursday, June 27, 2019
12:30 PM to 3:00 PM


Calgary Nikkei Cultural & Seniors Centre
2236—29th Street SW
Calgary, AB

Friday, July 5, 2019
7:00 PM to 9:30 PM


Vancouver Japanese Language School Hall, Room 416
487 Alexander Street
Vancouver, BC

Sunday, May 26, 2019
1:30 PM to 4:00 PM


Canadian Japanese Cultural Centre
45 Hempstead Drive
Hamilton, ON

Sunday, June 2, 2019
1:30 PM to 3:30 PM


Japanese Cultural Association of MB
180 McPhillips Street
Winnipeg, MB

Sunday, June 9, 2019
1:30 PM to 4:00 PM


Momiji Centre
3555 Kingston Road
Scarborough, ON