PRESS RELEASE: February 26, 2014 – Vol. 9, No. 5
General Kiyofumi Iwata visits the National Japanese American Memorial
Ranking Japanese Army official visits National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism.
Receives briefing from Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) officials.
Washington, DC. During the course of his meetings with high level Washington officials, General Kiyofumi Iwata, Chief of Staff of the Japan Ground Self Defense Forces (JGSDF), visited the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism, located near the US Capitol on February 10, 2014. JAVA President Gerald Yamada and former JAVA Executive Director Terry Shima briefed General Iwata on the Memorial and the Japanese American experience during World War II.
General Iwata said the combat performance of the Nisei in Europe and the Pacific is highly respected by him and people of Japan. They have read books about the Nisei combat record and have seen a series of films on the internment, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Nisei who served in the Military Intelligence Service. General Iwata also mentioned the hardship that the Nisei have overcome during the period, and requested his best wishes be conveyed to Nisei veterans of all wars for serving their nation so nobly.
Yamada said the Memorial, opened to the public in year 2000, was significant for a number of important reasons. It is a national tribute to the patriotism of Japanese Americans and it is inscribed with President Ronald Reagan’s national apology. The Memorial was designed to incorporate the strong tie Japanese Americans have with Japan, such as the two bronze cranes used as the centerpiece of the Memorial, the Japanese cherry trees that ring the Memorial, and the five boulders which were imported from Japan and represent five generations of ethnic Japanese in America. The memorial site serves as a remembrance of the 10 confinement sites and the over 800 Nisei who died in line of duty. Finally, of the almost $12 million raised from private donations to build the Memorial, approximately $100,000 came from donors in Japan.
Shima discussed the harsh treatment meted against persons of Japanese ancestry during the war years, the exemplary performance of Nisei in combat in Europe and in intelligence gathering in the Pacific, President Harry Truman’s affirmation of Nisei loyalty, the reforms instituted after World War II that improved opportunities for minorities to compete for any job and position; Japanese American achievements in the military, public service, academia and the corporate world, and JAVA’s efforts to build a strong US-Japan alliance.
General Iwata was born in Tokushima Prefecture in 1957, graduated from the National Defense Academy in 1979, and served in various staff and command positions. He was promoted to his present assignment in August 2013.
- Terry Shima 301-987-6746 email@example.com
JAPANESE AMERICAN VETERANS ASSOCIATION
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