December 7 – After Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, Presidential Proclamation No. 2525 authorizes Attorney General (AG) to conduct a round-up of suspects, many of whom had been under surveillance prior to the bombing.

December 8 – Dept of Treasury seizes all Japanese bank accounts and business

December 9 – Many Japanese language schools closed

December 11 – FBI warns against possession of cameras or guns by suspected “enemy” aliens

December 27 – AG orders all suspected “enemy “aliens in Western U.S. to surrender short wave radios and cameras

December 30 – California revokes liquor license held by non-citizen people of Japanese ancestry.



January 1 – AG freezes travel by all suspected “enemy ” aliens, orders surrender of weapons.

January 14 – President Roosevelt orders re-registration of suspected “enemy” aliens in West.

January 27 – Los Angeles City and County discharge all Japanese on civil service lists.

January 29 – AG Francis Biddle issues first of a series of orders establishing limited strategic areas along the West Coast and requiring the removal of all suspected “enemy” aliens from these areas.

January 31 – AG establishes 59 additional prohibited zones in California to be cleared by February 15.

February 4 – AG establishes curfew zones in California effective February 4.

February 14 – Lt. Genl. John DeWitt, Commanding General of the Western Defense Command (WDC), sends a memorandum to the Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson recommending the removal of “Japanese and other subversive persons” from the West Coast.

February 19 – FDR signs Executive Order No. 9066, authorizing Secretary of War or military commanders designated by Secretary to establish ‘military areas’ and exclude therefrom ‘any or all persons’.

February 20 – Secretary Stimson designates Genl. DeWitt as military commander empowered to carry out an evacuation within his command under the terms of the EO 9066.

Click to Enlarge
Evacuation Poster

March 2 – General DeWitt issues Proclamation No. 1, designating the Western half of the three West Coast states and the southern third of Arizona as military areas, and stipulating that all persons of Japanese descent would eventually be removed.

March 7 – Army acquire Owens Valley Site for Manzanar temporary detention center.

March 11 – Genl. DeWitt establishes the Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA), with Col. Karl R. Bendetsen as Director, to carry out the internment plan.

March 16 – WCCA establishes military area in Idaho, Montana, Utah and Nevada, designating 934 prohibited zone to be cleared.

March 18 – FDR signs EO 9102 creating the War Relocation Authority (WRA), with Milton S. Eisenhower as Director, to assist in evacuation of JAs by the military under EO 9066.

March 20 – WCCA acquires Santa Anita as a temporary detention center.

March 21 – FDR signs Public Law 503 (77th Congress) making it a federal offense to violate any order issued by a designated military commander under authority of EO 9066.

March 22 – First large groups of Japanese ancestry moved from L.A. to the Army-operated Manzanar detention center in the Owens Valley of California.

March 23 – Genl. DeWitt issues Civilian Exclusion Order No. 1 ordering the evacuation of all people of Japanese descent from Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound and their removal by March 30 to the Puyallup Army temporary detention center near Seattle.

March 24 – Curfew for all aliens and Japanese proclaimed for military area 1 and other strategic areas in west effective March 27. WCCA acquires sites for temporary detention centers in California at Merced, Tulare, Marysville, and Fresno.

March 27 – Genl. DeWitt issues Proclamation No. 4 (effective March 29) forbidding further voluntary migration of Japanese and Japanese Americans from the West Coast.

March 28 – Attorney Min Yasui decides to challenge the curfew order by breaking curfew. Declaring himself of Japanese ancestry, Yasui demands but fails to be arrested by a passing police officer, then presents himself at the Portland, Oregon Second Ave. police station and insists on his own arrest.

April 3 – First compulsory incarceration of L.A. Japanese to Santa Anita temporary detention center.

April 28 – Seattle internees are sent to temporary detention center at Puyallup fairgrounds, called “Camp Harmony.”

April 28 – 132 Alaska internees are sent to Puyallup detention center, later to Minidoka internment camp.

May 8 – First internees arrive at the Colorado River internment camp (Poston) near Parker, AZ.

May 16 – University student Gordon Hirabayashi purposefully breaks curfew and goes to FBI office to present himself for arrest, along with his statement, “Why I Refused to Register for Evacuation,” as a challenge to the “exclusion order”.

May 19 – Western Defense Command issues Civilian Restriction Order No. 1 establishing all temporary detention centers in the eight far western states as military areas and forbidding residents to leave these areas without expressed approval of the WDC.

May 27 – First contingent of internees arrives at the Tule Lake internment camp in northern California, including 447 volunteers from Puyallup and Portland detention centers.

May 30 – Fred Korematsu arrested for violating the “exclusion order,” initiating one of the four major legal test cases of the internment era.

June 1 – Manzanar Army temporary detention center transferred from WCCA to WRA and converted to Manzanar internment camp.

June 1 to 4 – Internees arrive directly from rural Oregon and Washington to the Tule Lake prison.

June 2 – Genl. DeWitt issues Public Proclamation No. 6 forbidding further voluntary migration of people of Japanese descent from the eastern half of California and simultaneously announces that all such people will eventually be removed from this area directly to internment camps.

June 17 – FDR appoints Dillon S. Myer to succeed Milton Eisenhower as WRA Director.

July 13 – Mitsuye Endo petitions for a writ of habeas corpus stating that she was loyal and law abiding U. S. citizen, that no charge had been made against her, that she was being unlawfully detained, and she was confined in a internment camp under armed guard and held there against her will.

August 7 – WDC announces completion of the removal of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes.

August 10 – Internees from Puyallup Army detention center moved to Minidoka internment camp near Twin Falls, Idaho.

August 12 – First internee group moved from Pomona Army detention center to Heart Mountain internment camp near Cody, Wyoming.

August 15 – Farm labor strike at Tule Lake internment camp.

August 27 – Granada Internment camp near La Mar, CO opens with arrival of group from Merced detention center.

September 11 – First group moved from Tanforan detention center to Central Utah internment camp, near Delta, UT.

September 18 – First group from Stockton detention center arrives at Rohwer internment camp near McGhee, Arkansas.

October 6 – Jerome internment camp near Dermont, Arkansas–the last of the 10 centers–receives a group of internees from Fresno detention center.

November 3 – Transfer of internees from temporary detention centers completed with the arrival of the last group at Jerome internment camp from Fresno.



January 4 – WRA field offices established in Chicago, Salt lake City, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Des Moines, New York, Denver, Kansas City, and Boston.

January 23 – Secretary of War Henry Stimson announces plans to form an all-Japanese American Combat team to be made up of volunteers from both the mainland and Hawaii.

February 8 – Registration (“loyalty questionnaire”) of all persons over 17 years of age for Army recruitment, segregation and relocation begins at most of the internment camps.

May 6 – Eleanor Roosevelt spends a day at Gila River internment camp in Arizona.

June 21 – Hirabayashi v U.S. and Yasui v U.S.: The Supreme Court rules that a curfew may be imposed against one group of Americans citizens based solely on ancestry and that Congress, in enacting Public Law 77-503, authorized the implementation of EO 9066 and provided criminal penalties for violation of orders of the Military Commander.



February 16 – FDR signs Executive Order No. 9423, transferring WRA to the Dept. of the Interior.

May – The all-Japanese American (nisei) 442 Regimental Combat Team (RCT) sent to the Italian front.

June 6 – D-Day

June 30 – Jerome internment camp closed–the remaining personnel transferred to Amache, Granada, Colorado and Rohwer, Arkansas.

December 17 – War Department announces the revocation (effective on January 2, 1945) of the West Coast mass exclusion orders, which had been in effect against people of Japanese descent since spring 1942.

December 18 – WRA announces that all internment camps will be closed before the end of 1945 (which ultimately does not come to pass), and the entire WRA program will be liquidated on June 30, 1946.

December 18 – Korematsu v U.S.: U.S. Supreme Court rules that one group of citizens may be singled out and expelled from their homes and imprisoned for several years without trial, based solely on their ancestry.

December 18 – In ex parte Endo, U.S. Supreme Court rules that WRA has no authority to detain a “concededly loyal” American citizen.



April 29 – The 442nd Regiment frees prisoners at Dachau concentration camps.

August 15 – V-J Day

September – WDC issues Public Proclamation No. 24 revoking all individual exclusion orders and all further military restrictions against persons of Japanese descent.

Oct 15 – Dec 15 – All WRA internment camps are closed except for Tule Lake Center



March 20 – Tule Lake Segregation Center closed

June 30 – WRA program officially terminates.

October 30 – Crystal City Detention Center, Texas operated by the Justice Department, releases last Japanese (North, Central, and South) Americans. The closing of the Japanese American Internment Program.



July 2 – Evacuation Claims Act passed, giving internees until January 3,1950 to file claims against the government for damages to or loss of real or personal property consequence of the evacuation. Total of $31 million paid by the government for property lost by internees– equaling less than 10 cents per dollar lost.



First annual Manzanar Pilgrimage held, leading to similar commemorations at other concentration camps.



Edison Uno and JACL colleagues introduce a resolution to at the 1970 Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) National Convention to seek compensation from the government for the internment. Although voted down then and in various forms over the next few years, this is action sometimes credited as the beginning of the redress movement.



February 19 – President Gerald Ford signs “An American Promise,” which formally rescinds EO 9066 but contains no apology.

May 3 – Michi Weglyn‘s Years of Infamy published, to become one of the most widely read and cited books on internment.

The JACL forms the National Committee for Redress at its biennial convention.



May – National Council for JA Redress formed by William Hohri and members of Seattle JACL in response to a March decision by the JACL’s National Committee for Redress that it should recommend the commissioning of a government study rather than press for direct individual reparations.



Following a 1979 proposal introduced by Senator Daniel Inouye, Congress establishes Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) to review the impact of EO 9066 on Japanese Americans, signed by President Carter as Public Law 96-317.



March-May – Hohri v U.S. case filed in March, and trial court dismisses case in May 1984.

February 22 – Report of the Commission of Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC), entitled Personal Justice Denied, concludes that exclusion, expulsion and incarceration were not justified by military necessity, and the decisions to do so were based on race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.

November 10 – In response to a petition of error coram nobis by Fred Korematsu, the San Francisco Federal District Court reverses his 1942 conviction and rules that the internment was not justified.



January 12 – Ruling in Hirabayashi v U.S. finally vacates Hirabayashi’s convictions for resisting curfew and evacuation orders.

August 10 – Civil Liberties Act of 1988, signed by President Reagan and passed by Congress, provides for a Presidential apology and appropriates $1.25 billion for reparations of $20,000 to most internees, evacuees, and others of Japanese ancestry who lost liberty or property because of discriminatory wartime actions by the government. Civil Liberties Public Education Fund created to help teach the public about the internment period.



November – President George Bush signs Public Law 101-162, guaranteeing funds for reparation payments to surviving former internees beginning October 1990.



Click to Enlarge
Apology letter signed by President Bill Clinton

October 9 – First redress payments issued at a Washington, D.C. ceremony. Reverend Mamoru Eto, 107 years old, is the first to receive his check.



January 25 – Court of Federal Claims grants final approval to the settlement in Mochizuki v. U.S., No. 97-294C, which authorizes apology letters and payments of $5,000 to be sent Japanese Latin Americans, although several cases were left “pending” at the time of the ORA’s closing, and many had not been paid because the redress fund’s monies had been expended.

February 1 – Emiko Omori’s film, Rabbit in the Moon, earns 1999 Sundance Film Festival award.

February 5 – Office of Redress Administration officially closes having overseen the some 82,219 cases. At its close, ORA listed 1,475 “unknown historical records” and 1,581 cases as “ineligible” for reparation

May 21 – Congress passes legislation for additional funding to pay remaining eligible claimants who had filed timely claims under the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and the Mochizuki settlement agreement.

October 22 – Groundbreaking on construction of a national memorial to both J-A soldiers and those sent to internment camps takes place in Washington, D.C. with President Clinton in attendance.  Tensions arise within the J-A community over what the inscriptions should say.



January – JA Veterans Association of Washington, D.C. votes to recognize the “principled stand” taken by Nisei draft resisters of conscience, following similar gestures by the 442nd Club of Hawaii and the MIS of Northern California.

February 2 – The White House announces its proposal for a new, $4.8 million initiative to help acquire and preserve several WWII concentration camp sites throughout the country.

March – U.S. Park Service reaches a compromise with J-A protesters offended by a planned inscription, Mike Masaoka’s so-called “Japanese American Creed,” to appear on a new national monument under construction in Washington.  The Service rules that the controversial former Japanese American Citizens League leader’s name and quotation will be included on the monument, but that reference to a “Japanese American Creed” will be omitted.

May – Premiere in Los Angeles of Frank Abe’s documentary film, Conscience and the Constitution, which represents the experiences of resisters of conscience during WWII.



Jan. – The National Parks Service submits to outgoing President Bill Clinton its recommendation report, Japanese-American Interment Sites Preservation.  In one of his final acts in office, Clinton proclaims the Minidoka War Relocation Center to officially be a national monument.


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