They were among 120,000 Japanese Americans held at 10 internment camps during World War II, their only fault being “we had the wrong last names and wrong faces,” said Ouchida, now 82 and living a short drive from where he grew up and was taken as a boy due to fear that Japanese Americans would side with Japan in the war.
On Thursday, California’s Legislature is expected to approve a resolution offering an apology to Ouchida and other internment victims for the state’s role in aiding the U.S. government’s policy and condemning actions that helped fan anti-Japanese discrimination.
It targets the actions of the California Legislature at the time for supporting the internments.
He said anti-Japanese sentiment began in California as early as 1913, when the state passed the California Alien Land Law, targeting Japanese farmers who some in California’s massive agricultural industry perceived as a threat.
Given their young ages at the time, many living victims such as Ouchida don’t remember much of life in the camps.