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Schatz, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, and the Japanese American Citizens League Urge Interior Secretary to Support Park Service Protection of Honouliuli

Interior Secretary Jewell, NPS Director Jarvis Receive Petitions Calling for National Park Service Recognition and Management

Washington, DC -- Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D- Hawai‘i) joined Carole Hayashino, the president and executive director of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, and Jacce Mikulanec, president of the Honolulu Japanese American Citizens League, to present Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell with petitions from more than 6,000 Americans requesting the inclusion of Honouliuli Internment Camp in the national park system.

“The Honouliuli Internment Camp serves as a symbol of the constant need to protect the freedoms and rights of every American,” Senator Schatz said.  “I’m proud to stand with the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, the Japanese American Citizens League, and the thousands of Americans who support protection of this solemn site.  I will continue to work with Secretary Jewell and President Obama to finally give Honouliuli the historic recognition it deserves."

“The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i greatly appreciates Senator Brian Schatz's leadership in supporting the preservation of Honouliuli and Hawai'i's internment sites," said Carole Hayashino, president and executive director of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i. “The project has truly been a grassroots effort involving many organizations and individuals.  We are also grateful for the support of the other members of the Hawai‘i Congressional delegation, Senator Mazie Hirono, Congressmembers Colleen Hanabusa and Tulsi Gabbard as well as Congressmember-elect Mark Takai.”

“JACL-Honolulu is pleased that Honouliuli Internment Camp is one step closer to receiving the recognition it deserves.  It is a symbol of what can happen when fear and prejudice dictate policy in our country - and why we must counter racism and prejudice in any form,” said Jacce Mikulanec, President of JACL-Honolulu Chapter.  “JACL has a long history of advocating for civil rights in Hawai‘i and nationally.  We are honored to be part of this pivotal visit and look forward to the work ahead.”

Last year, Schatz met with National Park Service (NPS) Director Jonathan B. Jarvis to discuss the need to complete the special resource study, which was authorized by Congress in 2009 to review the site for potential inclusion in the national park system.  Following the meeting, Schatz sent Director Jarvis a letter to reiterate his support for the Honouliuli Internment Camp’s inclusion in the national park system.

In September, 2013, Secretary Jewell visited Honouliuli Gulch where she saw remnants of the confinement site that historic documents indicate once held 175 buildings, 14 guard towers, and over 400 tents at the 160 acre camp. Jewell also met with local leaders and members of several Japanese cultural organizations who are part of the growing chorus of voices who want to see this difficult chapter in our nation’s history preserved and interpreted for the benefit of generations to come.

In 1943, the Honouliuli Internment Camp was constructed on Oahu to intern citizens, resident aliens, and prisoners of war.  The camp held approximately 320 internees and became the largest prisoner-of-war camp in Hawai‘i.  Honouliuli was the largest and longest-used World War II internment camp in Hawai‘i.

The NPS held a series of public meetings throughout Hawai‘i during May and June 2014 to present the draft study report, answer questions, and accept comments. Following receipt and review of public comments, a final report, including a course of action recommended by the Secretary of the Interior, will be transmitted to Congress.

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