FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CR
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 1998 (202) 616-2777
TDD (202) 514-1888
ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO ANNOUNCES UPCOMING END OF PROGRAM
TO COMPENSATE JAPANESE AMERICANS INTERNED DURING WORLD WAR II
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More than 2,000 Japanese-Americans who were interned during World War II are running out of time to seek compensation, Attorney General Janet Reno said today. A program established to provide redress for these individuals ends in six months.
The Civil Liberties Act, signed into law on August 10, 1988, acknowledges, apologizes, and makes restitution for the fundamental injustice of the evacuation, relocation, and internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
The Justice Department's Office of Redress Administration (ORA) is charged with administering the ten year program which ends on August 10, 1998. Potential claimants are urged to file claims by April 10, 1998 to allow for a thorough review of each claim by ORA. Generally, ORA takes about 6-8 weeks to make a determination once a claim is fully documented.
"This was a tragic chapter in the history of our nation. It was a time when we took away the liberty of an entire community of Americans," said Reno. "Time is running out. I urge anyone who might be eligible to come forward."
Since the program's inception, ORA has provided $20,000 in redress to 81,278 eligible claimants. Historical research suggests that an additional 2,200 individuals may be eligible for redress. Despite extensive outreach efforts, these persons remain unaccounted for.
"We have been working hard to reach out to every possible claimant, and will continue to do so," said DeDe Greene, ORA Administrator. "No cases may be opened or payments made after the closing of ORA on August 10, 1998."
Over the past 10 years, ORA has organized more than 100 community workshops; spoken to hundreds of church, legal and community groups; conducted nationwide historical research; and, sent out thousands of letters and applications.
The program has paid out nearly $1.65 billion in reparations to the 81,278 eligible claimants. The program has more than $19 million remaining to compensate any additional claimants who are found eligible. To contact ORA with any information on potential claimants, please leave a message on the 24 hour, toll-free Help line at 1-888-219-6900; write the Office of Redress Administration at P.O. Box 66260, Washington, D.C. 20035-6260; or, visit the web site at: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ora/main.html.
ORA requests that individuals provide the following information, if known: full name, name used during the internment period, date of birth, place of internment, relocation or evacuation, current address and telephone number. # # #