Iges woes not comparableBy Mike Yuen
to AJAs internment,
It is offensive and "very inappropriate" for state Sen. Marshall Ige to compare his legal woes to the plight of 120,000 Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II.
That's the assessment of Gov. Ben Cayetano; state House Republican leader Barbara Marumoto of Waialae Iki, who was interned with her parents; and Ed Ichiyama, a veteran of the Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
Cayetano said yesterday he "was offended" by Ige's remarks, made earlier this week when the Kaneohe Democrat pleaded not guilty to criminal charges that he violated state campaign finance laws. The case is linked to the state's investigation of the Bishop Estate.
Ige claimed that the charges against him were politically motivated and added: "I have told my family that I now know how many of the AJAs felt during the war. Being prejudged by a group with power, resulting in no due process. Yet, for their belief in the system, they gladly went to war and many gave up their lives."
Cayetano countered that Ige's situation is in no way comparable to what was faced by Japanese Americans who were put in relocation camps simply because they were Americans of Japanese ancestry.
Ige is being prosecuted because, beginning with the state Campaign Spending Commission, "which has Japanese-American members on it, decided that he had violated the campaign spending law -- not because Ben Cayetano or the attorney general or anyone else felt he has done this," the governor said.
"I feel sad for him because this is a tough position for anyone to be in. But I think people should be offended by the fact that that he compared himself to Japanese Americans who were put in relocation camps."
Marumoto, who as a 2-year-old was forced with her family to live in a horse stall at a racetrack near San Francisco while Japanese Americans in California were processed for internment camps in the interior, said:
"Ige has all of his rights intact as he faces campaign finance abuse charges. He has the right to speak in a free and open forum, the right to an attorney and due process of our court system, and the right to run for elected office.
"In contrast, my parents' generation was stripped of its rights and property without legal cause when AJA families were taken from their homes and interned at the outset of (World War II)."
Retired attorney Ed Ichiyama, who was a private in the 522nd Field Artillery unit of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, said he told his wife, who was interned, that the comparison Ige made was incomprehensible.
"There's no question that trying to equate the internees to his situation is inappropriate. I don't know all the details of what he supposedly did, but you can't compare those two situations," said Ichiyama, who is now 76 years old.
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