Japanese Americans

Search the Compensation and Reparations for the Evacuation, Relocation, and Internment Index (Redress Case Files)

Research Paths

refer to caption


Dust storm at this War Relocation Authority center where evacuees of Japanese ancestry are spending the duration. Dorothea Lange, Manzanar, CA, July 3, 1942. (Photo No. 210-G-10C-839)

A. Check the Japanese Claims Act of July 2, 1948 Case Files (Record Group 60)

About the Claims

The Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act of July 2, 1948, provided compensation to Japanese American citizens removed from the West Coast during World War II (WWII) for losses of real and personal property. Approximately 26,550 claims totaling $142,000 were filed. The program was administered by the Justice Department, which set a $100,000,000 limit on the total claims. Over $36,974,240 was awarded.

What you will find in these records:

  • Description of the compensation and amounts requested by the claimant
  • the award amount
  • the basis for the decision

How to search these records:

The publication Adjudications of the Attorney General of the United States, Volume 1, Precedent Decisions under the Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act (GPO: Washington, DC) can serve as a finding aid. Link to chapters from list of claimant names, file numbers, and dates.

  1. Go to the Adjudications main page
  2. Look for the person's name you are researching.
  3. If you find the person, you can review the published decisions online by clicking on the link in the File Number column.

Note: The volume only contains adjudications from January 3, 1950 to June 30, 1956, under the Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act. The adjudications included are limited to those involving legal questions of wide applicability to claims filed with the Attorney General under that Act. The final claim was adjudicated in 1965.

If you then want to find out whether or not we have the case file in the National Archives, you can check in the National Archives Catalog

About the Redress Program

  • The Office of Redress Administration (ORA) was established in the Civil Rights Division by Section 105 of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. ORA acknowledged, apologized, and made restitution for the fundamental injustices of the evacuation, relocation, and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II (WWII). The redress program was charged with administering the ten-year program, which, by operation of law, officially closed on February 5, 1999. ORA was responsible for identifying, locating, and authorizing tax-free restitution payment of $20,000 to eligible individuals of Japanese ancestry. Since the redress program's inception, ORA has provided $20,000 in redress to more than 82,219 eligible claimants, totaling more than $1.6 billion.

    Among the estimated 82,219 individuals paid, 189 were Japanese Latin American claimants eligible for the full $20,000 in redress compensation under the Act because they had the required permanent residency status or U.S. citizenship during the defined war period. In addition, ORA paid $5,000 to 145 Japanese Latin Americans who were deported from their homes in Latin America during WWII and held in internment camps in the U.S. These payments stem from an agreement resolving a 1996 civil suit filed by four Japanese Latin Americans. The agreement, which settles the so-called Mochizuki case, calls for all qualified class members to receive a presidential apology letter and $5,000 in compensation, to the extent that funds were remaining under the Act.

B. Check the Office of Redress Administration (ORA) for Restitution Payment

The Office of Redress Administration (ORA) was established in 1988 and was charged with administering a ten-year program to provide a tax-free restitution payment of $20,000 to eligible individuals of Japanese ancestry for the fundamental injustices of the evacuation, relocation, and internment during World War II.

Read more about these records and the administrative history in the
National Archives Catalog

What you will find in these records

The case files consist of written correspondence from the individual, copies of their personal credentials and supporting documentation. Each case is closed by either a letter of ineligibility or a payment document.

How to search these records

Please note: The index to these records is not currently available online, but may be at a future date.

To request a search of the index for payments made by the Office of Redress, use the
Compensation and Reparation Case File request.

In order to have been eligible for restitution, an applicant had to have been:

  1. alive on August 10, 1988
  2. a United States (U.S.) citizen or permanent resident alien during the internment period December 7, 1941 to June 30, 1946
  3. a person of Japanese ancestry, or the spouse or parent of a person of Japanese ancestry
  4. evacuated, relocated, interned, or otherwise deprived of liberty or property as a result of Federal government action during the internment period and based solely on their Japanese ancestry

Next Steps:

Contact Us

If you have any questions or for more information, contact us:

By e-mail: https://www.archives.gov/contact

By phone: 1-866-272-6272