The City of Vancouver issued a formal apology for its role in the 1942 internment of Japanese Canadians. 

The statement, passed unanimously Wednesday by Vancouver City Council, reads in part: 

“With humility and respect, the City of Vancouver formally apologizes for its complicity, its inaction, and for failing to protect her residents of Japanese descent … the City of Vancouver pledges to do all it can to ensure such injustices will not happen again to any of its residents, thereby upholding the principles of human rights, justice and equality now and in the future.” 

In 1942, during World War II, the entire Japanese population of Vancouver and the B.C. coast was forcibly removed to internment camps. The City government of the day urged on the removal of the Japanese “enemy alien population.” 

The formal apology to the Japanese community comes following the declaration of 2013 as a Year of Reconciliation, which last week included major events, including a march of tens of thousands, coinciding with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s hearings into the history of Indian Residential Schools. 

The apology was marked with a reception Wednesday evening hosted by the Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association (JCCA) Human Rights Committee at the Vancouver Japanese Language School.


Photo: Fernanda Sánchez Jaramillo