The 25th anniversary of the Japanese–Canadian Redress Settlement
On September 29th, the Ottawa Japanese Community Association (OJCA) and the Ottawa Japanese Cultural Centre (OJCC) hosted a commemorative event for the 25th anniversary of the Redress Agreement in the Embassy auditorium. The Redress Agreement was announced after the Canadian government acknowledged their unfair treatment of Japanese-Canadians during the Second World War. On September 22, 1988, then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney announced government compensation in the form of $21,000 to each surviving internee, $12 million to the Japanese-Canadian community and $12 million for the establishment of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Okuda revisited the significance of the Redress Agreement. He then commended the efforts of Japanese Canadians in advancing their social status in Canada and their contribution toward a vibrant multicultural Canadian society. Ambassador Okuda paid tribute to the Japanese- Canadians who play active roles in various fields, contribute to the multicultural dynamic in Canada, and promote relations between Japan and Canada.
Japanese-Canadians Ms. Julie Tamiko-Manning and Mr. Matt Miwa who initiated “The Tashme Project,” a collection of interviews from elders who spent part of their childhood in internment camps in Tashme, B.C., performed a short play which re-enacted the testimonies. A screening of part of the documentary film “Children of Redress”, by Director Greg Masuda, followed the Tashme Project presentation.
Ms. Anne Scotton, Executive Director of the former Japanese-Canadian Redress Secretariat for the Government of Canada, and Ms. Sachiko Okuda, a member of the redress campaign, talked about the historical process which led to the Redress Agreement. Ms. Yumi Schoenhofer, a board member of the OJCA, and Mr. Kenji Tokawa, a fourth-generation Japanese-Canadian, delivered their views on the redress.
The anniversary event provided each participant with the opportunity to reflect on the history of Japanese-Canadians and the meaning of the Redress Agreement from their own perspective. The participants acknowledged the importance of passing on this lesson from Japanese-Canadian history to future generations.