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American Lawmakers And Activists Skewer Ryan Zinke For 'Konnichiwa' Comment

17 March 2018, 01:55 | Tara Lloyd

American Lawmakers And Activists Skewer Ryan Zinke For 'Konnichiwa' Comment

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As for Zinke's comments, Inoue says: "I think it was a flawless encapsulation of why this funding is so important, that it perfectly demonstrated the latent racism that does exist in this country".

"Secretary Zinke's gaffe demonstrates how little we have learned from our history and why the administration must continue to fund these memorials", Asian Americans Advancing Justice said in its statement.

President Donald Trumps proposed 2019 budget doesnt seek funding - about $2 million in previous years - for the Japanese American Confinement Sites program, the goal of which is to study and preserve internment camps for the benefit of future generations. "This blatantly insensitive remark by secretary zinke is uncalled for and is not behavior that a cabinet secretary should exhibit".

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Hanabusa then corrected Zinke, saying she thought it was still morning- "I think it's still 'ohayo gozaimasu, ' but that's OK", she said, referencing the phrase for "good morning".

Hanabusa - whose were sent to the internment camps by the American government during World War II - understandably appears to take the issue of remembering these grievous wrongs very seriously.

Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono criticized Zinke's comments on Twitter. "Unfortunately, we are still seeing that a lot of people still do not know about the Japanese-American experience during World War II and that American citizens were essentially deprived of their rights as citizens". Zinke's comment betrayed a prejudice that being Asian makes you a perpetual foreigner. "He should apologize", she wrote on Twitter.

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"I understand the importance of it to American history", he said.

Nope. Racism is not ok. Hanabusa, who acknowledged her grandfathers were interned during World War II, asked.

"The internment of almost 120,000 Japanese Americans is no laughing matter", she wrote, adding that the response was "flippant & juvenile". "It was based exclusively on race, for these 120,000 were Americans of Japanese descent".

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