Program Summary
  At the 2000 Day of Remembrance, the National Coalition for Redress/Reparations, once again, focused on the continuing struggles of Japanese Latin Americans and other individuals who were denied reparations.  In addition, the DOR was highlighted by the celebration of three heroes of the community with Fighting Spirit Awards: Carmen Mochizuki, Alice Nishimoto and Fred Okrand.  All three were instrumental in the pursuit of reparations for Japanese Latin Americans.  On a solemn note, a very important tribute was paid to Michi Nishiura Weglyn who had passed away in the previous year.  The event was also sponsored by the Japanese American National Museum.

The largest group still fighting for equitable reparations were the JLAs.  Since the Campaign for Justice; Justice Now! For Japanese Latin Americans (CFJ) began in the early 90’s, the leaders who inspired the organization’s efforts were Carmen Mochizuki and Alice Nishimoto, both victims of the United States’ wartime kidnapping of 2,264 men, women and children from Latin America.

Throughout the 1990’s Mochizuki and Nishimoto worked on the campaign as spokespersons.  They appeared at numerous local meetings, press conferences, and traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby Congressional representatives for reparations.  One of their staunchest supporters was Fred Okrand, legal director emeritus of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).  Okrand volunteered as co-counsel with Robin Toma on behalf of the former abductees and filed a lawsuit against the federal government seeking reparations.  Okrand had been a strong supporter of Japanese Americans since the 1940’s when he filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Japanese American inmate.

And, although the JLA lawsuit did not provide the $20,000 reparations, a settlement was offered for $5,000 per surviving inmate.  Although Mochizuki and Nishimoto were disappointed with the lesser amount, they accepted the offer as a “bittersweet” settlement.  Okrand felt the settlement was significant in providing the government’s reparations to JLA former internees who now resided in Japan and Latin America.

The settlement would not be the end of the campaign for equitable reparations.  The CFJ continued its efforts and received the strong support of Congressman Xavier Becerra who stated at the National Day of Remembrance, “…we must not forget those of Japanese ancestry in America at the time who were subjected to confinement but were never compensated under the CLA because of legal technicalities.  That is why I will shortly introduce legislation in Congress intended to deliver justice for all those who were made to suffer the same indignities.”

Another highlight of the DOR was the collaboration of hereandnow and Visiting Violette in an original performance piece dedicated to Mochizuki, Nishimoto, and “all Japanese Latin Americans who endured the injustice of their kidnapping and incarceration.”  The Asian American theatre company hereandnow worked with Visiting Violette, an alternative rock band, and brought in children from Casa Heiwa to create this special piece for the DOR program.


Michi Nishiura Weglyn..., Rafu Shimpo, 4/27/99, Michi Weglyn was Noted Activist who wrote Redress Bible

lobby Congressional representatives..., Rafu Shimpo, 5/3/99, Lobbying for Redress in Washington DC-
$5,000 per surviving inmate..., Rafu Shimpo, 5/19/99, US adds Fund for Japanese Latin Americans