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OBIT KOREMATSU.JPGThe Assembly passed a bill creating an official annual observance of the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

The 52-0 vote sent the measure, Assembly Bill 1775, carried by Assemblyman Warren Furutani, D-Gardena, to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The measure, if signed, would declare Jan. 30 as Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. It's named for an Oakland man who lost his shipyard job and went into hiding when President Franklin Roosevelt ordered Japanese Americans to be rounded up and held in "relocation camps" as national security threats.

Korematsu was later captured and convicted of refusal to obey a military order and his conviction as upheld by the Supreme Court. However, in 1988, Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed legislation that apologized for the internment. In 1998 Korematsu was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He died in 2005.

PHOTO CREDIT: President Bill Clinton, right, presents Fred Korematsu with a Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony at the White House in Washington. Associated Press file photo, Jan. 15, 1998, Dennis Cook


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