Volume #23 - 758.|
PASSEPORTS POUR LES JAPONAIS-CANADIENS
Note du secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures et du ministre de la Citoyenneté et de l'Immigration|
pour le Cabinet
CABINET DOCUMENT NO. 63-56|
le 23 février 1956|
PASSPORT FACILITIES FOR AND RETURN TO CANADA OF CANADIAN CITIZENS OF JAPANESE ORIGIN|
In order to prevent the possible occurrence of untoward incidents caused by feelings aroused during the war against Japan, Cabinet directed in the early post-war period that certain precautions should be taken to control the movement and return to Canada of Canadian citizens of Japanese origin.
These directives were modified from time to time as circumstances permitted. Today there are only two such directives remaining:
(a) a Cabinet directive of October 1, 1947 that passports should not, except in special circumstances, be issued or renewed to Canadian citizens of Japanese origin in Japan;
(b) a Cabinet directive of July 31, 1952 that passports for return to Canada could henceforth be issued to Canadian citizens of Japanese origin notwithstanding the fact that they had served in the enemy forces, it being understood that if an examination of his war record proved any such person to be clearly undesirable, every effort would be made to prevent his return to Canada.
In a Memorandum to Cabinet of March 5, 1953, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Acting Secretary of State for External Affairs recommended that natural-born Canadian citizens of Japanese race who had served in the enemy armed forces be dealt with on a basis similar to that obtaining for Canadian citizens of other races, and to this effect that passports be issued to Canadian citizens of Japanese race notwithstanding the fact that they had served in enemy forces. At its meeting on March 12, 1953, Cabinet deferred its decision on this recommendation.
It does not appear necessary or desirable to maintain any longer the special restrictions on Canadian citizens of Japanese origin mentioned above. No such restrictions are applied to Canadians of other racial or national origin, and the restrictions which existed against Canadians who had served in the German or Italian armed forces were lifted in October, 1949. Since Canadian-Japanese relations have now been restored to normal, it would seem inappropriate to continue in effect restrictions against Canadians of Japanese origin residing in Japan. The arguments for amending the Cabinet directives referred to above are outlined in greater detail in Appendix A, attached.
The undersigned, therefore, recommend
(a) that passports may be issued to Canadian citizens of Japanese origin, notwithstanding the fact that they served in the enemy armed forces, on a basis similar to that obtaining for Canadian citizens of other racial or national origins;
(b) that no distinction should be made with regard to the issuance or renewal of passports between Canadian citizens of Japanese origin and those of other racial or national origins.
J.W. Pickersgill L.B. Pearson
Minister of Secretary of State
Citizenship and Immigration for External Affairs
PASSPORT FACILITIES FOR AND RETURN TO CANADA
The special restrictions on Canadian citizens of Japanese origin established by the Cabinet directives of October 1, 1947 and July 31, 1952, appear to be no longer necessary or desirable for the following reasons:
(a) Ten years after Japan's surrender Canadian-Japanese relations have been restored to normal. Canada has concluded a number of agreements with Japan governing matters of mutual interest. Japan has become an important market for Canadian exports particularly cereals.
(b) Evidence of mistreatment obtained through full interrogation of Canadian prisoners-of-war resulted in the prosecution by Canadian Army law officers of a number of Japanese prison guards, etc. There was only one Japanese-Canadian in this lot - Inouye Kanao (The Kamloops Kid) - who was convicted of high treason in Hong Kong in 1947 and hanged. Most major and minor Japanese war criminals, having served ten years of their sentences, have now been released. Public sentiment on this subject has subsided.
(c) Persons of Japanese origin in Canada have settled widely across the country and are being assimilated in their respective communities so far as may be expected. No untoward incidents have occurred; none need be expected.
(d) The Canadian Ambassador in Japan has pointed out that in restricting the issue of passports to Canadian citizens of Japanese origin in Japan only to persons having made definite reservations for travel to Canada in compliance with the Cabinet directive of October 1, 1947, the Embassy is:
(i) compelled to discriminate against Canadian citizens of Japanese origin compared with persons of other national origin; and
(ii) this works a hardship on those who have renounced their Japanese nationality and have only Canadian citizenship and who may wish to travel to some country other than Canada for business, family, or other reasons.
(e) Canadian citizens who served in the enemy armed forces who are of Japanese origin are treated less generously than those who are of German, Austrian, and Italian origin. At its meeting of October 11, 1949, Cabinet directed that persons who were Canadian citizens by birth and who had served in the enemy armed forces were to be issued with passports, and that persons who were Canadian citizens by naturalization were also to be issued with passports provided their Canadian citizenship status had not been revoked under the provisions of the Canadian Citizenship Act. When issuing the above instructions at that time, however, Cabinet directed that they should not be applied to Canadian citizens of Japanese origin. Hence Japanese-Canadians are still singled out for different treatment from that accorded to persons of European origin.
(f) The directive of July 31, 1952 on Canadians of Japanese origin can be circumvented in practice. Under the provisions of the Immigration Act, Canadian citizens are re-admissible to Canada as a matter of right; hence Japanese-Canadians can re-enter Canada without the necessity of applying for passports, by presenting themselves at the border and submitting proof of Canadian citizenship. Canadian law itself, therefore, provides the means to nullify the directive.
(g) Cabinet has already considerably eased immigration regulations as they apply to persons of Japanese origin. On January 22, 1954, Cabinet directed that the position of Japan with respect to immigration should not differ in principle from that of other Asian countries;121 on [April 20], 1955 Cabinet granted authority for the admission of persons not coming within the admissible classes where strong humanitarian or compassionate grounds for admission existed.122 Situations could arise where a Japanese citizen could enter Canada more easily as an immigrant than as a returning Canadian.
(h) It is now extremely difficult to obtain the proof required
that an individual is clearly undesirable within the meaning of
the Cabinet directive. The Canadian Embassy in Tokyo no longer
can obtain the complete records of service in the Japanese Armed
Forces which were available during the occupation period. It is,
therefore, difficult to secure sufficient evidence to warrant the
refusal of passport facilities, and this difficulty increases
with the passage of time.123