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Inouye bill seeks camp study


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POSTED: Saturday, May 02, 2009

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye has introduced a bill calling for a study to determine whether World War II internment camp sites in Hawaii can be listed as historic sites under the National Park System.

The Hawaii Democrat noted Thursday in a Washington news release that more than 1,000 Japanese-Americans were incarcerated in at least eight locations in the islands.

During the war, Inouye fought alongside fellow Americans of Japanese descent whose families were held in mass detention camps because of their ancestry.

“;Those detained included the leaders of the Japanese immigrant community in Hawaii, many of whom were taken from their homes and families in the hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor,”; Inouye said, referring to the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack that propelled the U.S. into the war.

“;The forced removal of these individuals began a nearly four-year odyssey to a series of camps in Hawaii and on the continental United States,”; he said.

Inouye quoted a 2007 report by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii that documented the sites — Honouliuli Gulch, Sand Island and the U.S. Immigration Station on Oahu, the Kilauea Military Camp on the Big Island, Haiku Camp and Wailuku county jail on Maui, and the Kalaheo Stockade and Waialua county jail on Kauai.

“;This legislation will enable the National Park Service to study these important sites in my state and make recommendations to Congress regarding the best approach to conserve and manage these sites to tell this chapter in our nation's history to current and future generations.”;

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, is co-sponsoring the Senate bill. U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, introduced the House version of the bill, and U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, is a co-sponsor.

“;The internment of innocent Americans at Honouliuli and elsewhere is a tragic chapter of our country's history that we must never forget,”; Akaka said. “;Building on existing National Park Service initiatives, this new study will further efforts to share this difficult history in a way that appropriately honors the experience and memory of those interned.”;