Title: "Farm Plan Fails; Army May Have to Move Bainbridge Japs," Seattle Times, 3/23/1942, (ddr-densho-56-708)
Densho ID: ddr-densho-56-708

Farm Plan Fails; Army May Have to Move Bainbridge Japs

Because residents of Idaho and Eastern Washington have opposed the establishment in their districts of a cooperative farm colony by Japanese residents of Bainbridge Island, most of the 270 Japanese on the island will have to be evacuated forcibly by the Army next Monday, I. Nagatani, American-born Japanese leader, said today.

Under an order signed yesterday by Lieut. Gen. J.L. De Witt, commanding general of the Western Defense Command and Fourth Army, all Japanese on the island may leave voluntarily up until Sunday, provided their destinations are approved by the Army. Those still there next Monday will be evacuated by the Army and sent to a camp by the Army. Those still there next Monday will be evacuated by the Army and sent to a camp at Manzanar, 270 miles from Los Angeles, in Southeastern California.

Cooperative Plan Fails

"We had been looking for a place to establish a cooperative farm," Nagatani said. "We had three possible sites--two in Eastern Washington and the other in Idaho, but the plan fell through because residents of the districts opposed our coming."

Nagatani said all residents of the island would prefer to establish a cooperative farm, but that this cannot be done now because there is not time to make arrangements. He said they planned to take over abandoned farms and supply most of the funds themselves.

Bainbridge School District will lose considerable revenue through the Japanese evacuation. It receives 25 cents a day from the state for every pupil attending, and a large proportion of the districts pupils are Japanese.

James Y. Sakamoto, American-born publisher and Japanese leader in Seattle, said he had heard nothing from federal authorities on a proposal to establish a colony for Seattle Japanese in Eastern Washington.

First Compulsory Order

Seattle Japanese have not yet been ordered to evacuate. The order decreeing all Japanese must be off Bainbridge Island by next Monday was the first compulsory evacuation order on the West Coast. The Army has announced, however, that all Japanese, both aliens and American-born, soon will be ordered to leave a 200-mile wide strip along the coastline from Canada to Mexico. Alien Germans and Italians also will be ordered out.

Nagatani said there are approximately 270 Japanese on the island, 187 of whom are American citizens. Ten Japanese residents of the island have been interned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and seven Japanese youths left their island homes to serve with the United States Army, Nagatani said. There are 45 families.

Many of the Japanese on the island raise strawberries. Nagatani said this year's crop, value of which he estimated at $250,000, is just started to bud. Although the Japanese knew they eventually would have to evacuate, Nagatani said they have continued cultivation of the crop.

Army Units on Island

Several military and naval establishments are on the island and all ships bound for the Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton must past through narrow channels surrounding the island.

All Japanese on the island by next Monday will be fingerprinted, ferried to Seattle and sent by train to the Manzanar camp in California.

The Manzanar camp, inspected over the week-end by General DeWitt, who made an airplane flight there from his San Francisco headquarters, will handle 10,000 Japanese when its buildings are finished. The first large contingent -- 1,000 Japanese men -- started from Los Angeles this morning, the Associated Press reported.

To Get Pay After War

Japanese employed at the camp will be paid from $50 to $94 a month, to be collected after the war, minus a deduction of $15 a month for food. The colony of 6,000 acres is expected to be self-sustaining.

Several of the dormitory-type buildings are completed and 400 carpenters are rushing and 400 carpenters are rushing the framework on others. When the establishment is completed, it will have 48 city blocks of buildings, a recreation center and canteen. Once the Japanese are in the colony they will stay there, under military guard. No liquor will be permitted.

Capt. Jack Hayes, in charge of the military police, said strict discipline would be enforced. He commented:

"The Army is not unmindful of the atrocities are reported to have been subjected at Hongkong and other zones of Japanese occupation, but we hope to impress upon these Japanese in our custody that the American way of doing things is different."