BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash.— More than 70 years after the U.S. government told Junji Yukawa’s family to leave their Bainbridge Island home, Yukawa wants something from the U.S. government.
“This is something that should be promoted and expanded,” said Yukawa, who was 14 when he and his family were sent from Bainbridge Island to an internment camp in California.
Yukawa still remembers the camp.
“Food was bad. Sleeping quarters was bad. Living conditions were bad. The weather was bad,” Yukawa said.
Yukawa remembers leaving Bainbridge Island on March 30, 1942. He and his siblings walked with his father to the dock in an area that is now a memorial site.
Yukawa and about 15 other camp survivors told their stories to Representative Derek Kilmer, D-Washington.
Kilmer authored a bill to get the site recognized by the National Park Service as an official “exclusion memorial.” The designation could get more exposure for the memorial and could help volunteers raise funds to expand the site.
“It’s really important we shed light on this chapter of our nation’s history and make sure everybody knows about it,” said Kilmer.