Community Reconstruction

Community reconstruction and the call for reparations

Japanese Canadians, who had suffered enormously from the imposition of the war measures act, began to rebuild their communities in the 1950s. In 1950, the government agreed to provide a meagre financial compensation of 1.2 million dollars to the expropriated owners who had not been sufficiently paid for the sale of their properties. The deportees were gradually repatriated from Japan in the 1960s.

The year 1977 marked the hundredth anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants into Canada, establishing the first of three generations of Japanese Canadians. This event precipitated the launch of a campaign demanding formal compensation and an apology for the injustices Japanese Canadians suffered during and after the Second World War.

In 1987, the United States offered their apologies to Japanese Americans for the treatment they had endured during the war, along with a $22,000 financial compensation package for each survivor. The following year in 1988, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, on behalf of the Government of Canada, publicly apologized and offered compensation in the form of $21,000 per capita to Japanese Canadians.

These reparations were also accompanied by the creation of a charitable fund to help rebuild community infrastructures, the granting of Canadian citizenship to persons wrongfully deported to Japan, as well as their descendants, and the financing of a Canadian race relations foundation.

Since 1988, 16,000 people have applied for compensation. Community centers have been erected in most major cities from Victoria to Montreal, and the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation has funded a variety of projects, programs and conferences centered on culture, education and human rights.

Today, many Japanese-Canadians enjoy great prosperity and excel in many different domains. The National Association of Japanese Canadians continues to fight against any and all racism. The ordeal of Japanese Canadians is there to remind us all of the importance of preserving the civil rights of all Canadians.