Census blamed in internment of Japanese

Census blamed in internment of Japanese

WASHINGTON — Two scholars say in a new research paper that despite earlier denials, the Census Bureau was deeply involved in the roundup and internment of Japanese Americans at the onset of U.S. entry into World War II.

The academics say the Census Bureau’s involvement included identifying concentrations of people of Japanese ancestry in geographic units as small as city blocks, lending a senior Census Bureau official to work with the War Department on the relocation program and a willingness to disclose names and address of Japanese Americans.

While it is common today for the Census Bureau to publish reports that detail the number of people of a given race living in an area as small as a city block, such information was generally not available in the 1940s. But the authors of the paper contend that the Census Bureau provided such detailed information as well as age, sex, citizenship and country of birth to the War Department, now the Defense Department, on only one group — Japanese Americans.

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