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Santa Cruz County History - Executive Order 9066 and the Residents of Santa Cruz County
Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. Nov. 17, 1944. p. 1
RETURN OF JAPANESE STIRS MANY PROTESTS
Army announcement that in a few "special merit" cases, American citizens of Japanese ancestry were being permitted to return to restricted areas of the Pacific coast, brought a rising storm of protest from state and local officials and from veterans' groups in several California communities Friday, the United Press reported from Sacramento.
In this area, the general feeling is that it would be extremely unwise to allow evacuated Japanese to return now because of the danger of bloodshed. Feeling is particularly bitter in Salinas, home of the American tank company which suffered heavy casualties on Bataan.
Watsonville police said they had not been notified of the arrival or impending arrival of any Japanese evacuees here. Officials also said they had received no reports to substantiate a rumor that a "dead Jap was found on the beach road" Friday morning.
Brig.-Gen. Ray W. Hays, head of the state guard, said that if disturbances arose in connection with returning Japanese which local authorities could not handle, the state guard would step in and enforce the law. He said he thought it unwise, however, for the evacuees to be permitted to return.
Gov. Earl Warren did not comment Friday on a telegram he received from a Marysville rancher, asking for aid in preventing the return to California of Japanese-Americans. The request was from Arnold Dean and followed a meeting of the Yuba-Sutter American Legion where rumors circulated that evacuees would be returned to work on farms.
The protests followed quickly army announcement that James K. Yamamoto and his family would return from Ogden, Utah, to his farm at Cupertino, Calif., and notification to the Burlingame chief of police that Kukumosuke (Frank) Fujiwara would take up residence in Burlingame.
The Western Defense command announced that the action in the Yamamoto case was in accordance with a long-standing policy.
"Cases involving mixed marriage, direct family connection with individuals in the armed services and cases of illness or other specially meritorious cases are covered by this policy," the army said.
Fukiwara, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported, had been exempted from the army exclusion regulation. He has not arrived in Burlingame, and records indicate that he did not live there before the evacuation.
Walter Ewing, acting supervisor of the War Relocation authority in Salt Lake City, said the WRA was investigating whether it was responsible for providing transportation to the returning Japanese-Americans. He disclaimed knowledge of a reported plan that the WRA was planning a wholesale return of evacuees to the Pacific coast.
K. Osada, believed to be the first foreign born Japanese to return to Sacramento to live since "relocation" of west coast Japanese early in the war, returned two weeks ago, it was revealed. Federal Bureau of Identification agents said they checked Osada's papers and found he came here "in a regular and proper manner," supposed authorized by the War Relocation Authority and Western Defense command.
Osada is married to a Caucasian woman who operated his real estate business during his absence. Osada's papers showed he was allowed to return to Sacramento because of her illness.
The Santa Clara county farm bureau, by a vote of 70 to 0, Thursday protested the return of the Japanese, according to reports from San Jose. Previously Congressman John Z. Anderson promised a complete investigation in Washington of the situation.
Another Washington dispatch said Rep. John Phillips of California declared he had been told by authorities that a planned program for the wholesale return of evacuated Japanese had been set in motion by the WRA "and will proceed as rapidly as lodgings and land can be found for them."
Phillips and other sources agreed that the Japanese will be returned under various pretexts which evade the army's original evacuation order, but that the movement will be so large as to restore virtually the entire west coast Japanese population long before the war with Japan ends.
The start of the movement was preceded by a national WRA propaganda campaign, which will continue unflaggingly, according to the plans discovered in Washington.
Rep. Phillips said Nov. 15 was set several months ago as the starting date of a virtual mass return of Japanese, contingent on a New Deal victory in the Nov. 7 election.
No comment was available at the War Relocation authority offices under the authority's claim that the presidential order creating it gives it the right to operate in secrecy.
Copyrighted by the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. Reproduced by permission.