LOS ANGELES (AP) — Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, who uncovered proof thousands of Japanese-Americans incarcerated in the United States during World War II were held not for reasons of national security but because of racism, has died.
Bruce Embrey, co-chair of the Manzanar Committee, said Wednesday that Herzig-Yoshinaga died July 18 at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance.
She was 93.
Her discovery of a 1942 document in the National Archives revealed that approximately 120,000 Japanese-Americans weren’t sent to camps around the country for national security concerns.
The real reason, according to the document, was because Japanese cultural ties led authorities to believe it was not possible to tell spies from law-abiding citizens.
The revelation led to a 1988 executive order from President Ronald Reagan offering apologies and $20,000 payments to each of those incarcerated.
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