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Thursday, October 2, 2003



BERT NAKANO / INTERNMENT REDRESS LEADER

Retired travel agent
spoke out for
WWII reparations


TORRANCE, Calif. >> Bert Nakano, a Hawaii native who led a campaign to win reparations for Japanese Americans forced into internment camps during World War II, has died. He was 75.

Nakano died Saturday at a nursing home in this suburb south of Los Angeles, said his son, Erich.

The cause was respiratory failure related to Parkinson's disease.

Retiring as an airline worker and travel agent, Nakano helped found and was the top spokesman for the National Coalition for Redress and Reparations, which in 1988 was rewarded with an apology and $1.5 billion in payments from the federal government.

Nakano referred to his hard-working family when calling for restitution.

"To people who would oppose reparations, I'd say, 'Give me back my three years, my mother's health, my father's business, my brother's ambition to become a doctor and they can keep their money,'" he said in 1985. "Can anyone return those things to us?"

Nakano also pushed aging internment camp survivors to testify before Congress.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 53 years, Lillian; two grandchildren; four brothers and two sisters.

Funeral services have been scheduled for Saturday in Montebello.

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