Japanese American Incarceration, Essay Example

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From Theodore Roosevelt’s perspective, in what ways did Japan pose a threat to the US? What was the historical context for the document? What were the long-term consequences of the immigration issue for US-Japan relations? 

President Roosevelt perceived that Japan posed a threat to the US in a number of different ways. (i) Japan is a formidable military power with a proud warlike people.  After victories over Russia they want to have full equality as a world power.  This gives rise to expansionism and the formation of a Japanese empire that will see them as the dominant power in S.E. Asia.  Having been snubbed by the major western powers i.e. the USA and England they feel humiliated and this provides the opportunity for them to strike back. In addition, the population of Japan is expanding rapidly and many would leave Japan for a better life in North America and Australia. As such the administration sees expansionism and Japanese colonialism as an alternative to moving the growing population under their control.  In addition, the growth and the development of the Japanese Imperial Navy leaves the US Coast vulnerable to attack as there are insufficient warships to mount a formidable defence As such it would be difficult to recapture such Islands as Hawaii and the Philippines.

The migration of sugar workers from Japan and China to the Hawaiian Islands was supported by the planters importing cheap labour and this created tension with the native Hawaiian people.  Japanese immigration to the USA was discouraged before the onset of the Second World War.  During the war the Japanese internment camps created bitter memories and many returned home after the war. After the war the memories of Pearl Harbor and the Pacific campaigns continued to influence immigration policy towards Japan.  It was the Immigration Control Law that was enacted in 1952 that provided the policy framework for immigration from Japan to the USA. The concept of encouraging immigration from Japan to the USA was actively discouraged.  Equally the Japanese Government did not like the concept, Japan was not like the USA, considered to be a nation of immigrants, and it considered the mass exodus of its people to be counterproductive to cultural development in Japan.

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