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Was the Japanese Internment Camps Right or Wrong?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/21/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,817 times Debate No: 49608
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




I think that it was right to put them into camps because it was for our safety. Of Course they didn't like it, but they also didn't have a problem with it because they were fed, had clothes, had shelter, kids could go to school, and the parents had the opportunity to work. Even if none of them were spies, it doesn't mean that we couldn't take precaution. Also if we didn't do that the Americans would have rebelled and tried to harm the Japanese Americans. So in a sense, we protected them.


    1. Safety
        1. The Japanese Americans at the time were in no way a threat to the United States. The general fear was that they would become spies for their homeland against the US however they were no more a threat to the US than the German Americans who were not incarcerated. Indeed, really the only reason that the Japanese Americans were incarcerated and the German Americans were not was that it was much easier to spot an Asian in a sea of white.

        1. The Japanese Americans who were not forced to return to Japan in the last decades of the nineteenth century and the early ones of the twentieth were extremely fond of the United States. Compared to the land they had left they had greater opportunity, more political freedom, and by this time, had been in the US for a couple of generations and had more or less successfully assimilated.
    1. They Did Have Problems

      1. Even if they were fed, clothed, sheltered, and had education and work, they were still restricted in their freedom in a land that they had grown accustomed to being free in, the very same land that claimed to be a free society. Such coercive acts should not be tolerated and the attempt to justify them with security is flawed and will ultimately open the door for the justification of worse coercive acts. Adolf Hitler used the argument of security, among others, to justify his concentration camps as did Joseph Stalin and his successors. Really the only difference between these camps and the Japanese internment camps in the US is that the US didn't kill the Japanese. As Benjamin Franklin said, "He who sacrifices freedom for security shall end up with neither."
      1. Furthermore, upon being released from the camps, the Japanese Americans, returned to their property which in many cases was not only no longer theirs, as a product of their absence and government coercion, but also severely damaged.

    1. We Did Not Protect Them

      1. Not only was the probability of attack small although present, domestic law enforcement could have just as easily handled any issues without turning the Japanese Americans into victims of coercion by incarcerating them.

    1. Finally

      1. Just because, I want to give the policy debater cliché...

        1. Spending DA

Main source: The American Pageant 14th Edition
Debate Round No. 1


You are correct about some things, but their were spies in the U.S., like the man named Takeo Yoshikawa. He was a naval officer attached to the consulate and known to the Americans. He had as much clearance as a tourist did, but he cloaked his mission and helped the Japanese plan the attack on Pearl Harbor. This is one reason why we created the Japanese internments. How are we supposed to know who is a spy and who isn't, and even if we did ask them it wouldn't matter because they would probably lie. Also, even though they had there stores and houses pillaged the government paid the Japanese that stayed in the U.S. 10,000 for their property that was stolen.


Certainly there were spies, but there were likely no more Japanese spies than there were German or Italian spies and we didn't incarcerate them because, as I said previously, it is a lot easier to spot someone Japanese in a sea of white than it is to spot a German or Italian. Also, the number of actual spies would have been quite low considering that 70% of the Japanese Americans were citizens and 2/3 of them had been born in the US. Overall, the probability of these 110,000 internees being spies was so low that the costs to the American government, people, and the internees outweighed any benefits.
Also, while the internees were given monetary compensation, that was over 40 years after the fact at which point only 80,000 of the original 110,000 still survived. Furthermore, property has a lot more than simply monetary value and the property that was lost varied in that as well meaning that in some cases the property lost was more than the $20,000 granted by congress as compensation. In other words, for many of the survivors, the compensation and apology was too little, too late.
Extend the following arguments from my previous round:
  1. They did have problems.
  2. We did not protect them.
These arguments were not countered.
I would also like to point out that in addition to restricting the freedom of the internees, the conditions in which they lived were mediocre at best as outlined by this article from

"The government called these camps "relocation centers." Surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by armed soldiers, families lived in poorly built, overcrowded barracks . The barracks themselves had no running water and little heat. There was almost no privacy, and everyone had to use public bathrooms."

While many may think of these conditions as fit for a prison for some of the worst criminals, we must also remember that the Japanese interned at these camps had neither been charged with a crime nor tried and could not justifiably be called criminals under the Constitution and the laws under its jurisdiction.
Debate Round No. 2


Even though I should be making an argument I must say that you have won fair and square. This is my first time debating so I don't really know how it goes. Thank you for this now I can do my assignment for my class. Good job, you have made some great points about this subject, and I stood no chance.


Thank you for this debate and I hope you continue to participate here. Also, if you'd like to improve your argumentation skills and have the opportunity to do so, I would recommend joining speech and debate. It's fun and is a really good skill to learn. I personally prefer Student Congress and Policy but there are plenty of other events. Have a nice day.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by YellowPandaBear 2 years ago
I was having technical difficulties in putting this in my argument so here is the link to the scholastic article.
Posted by peacefrog 2 years ago
If you agree with the interment of Japanese-Americans during WW2, I would like to make the argument that you hate the fundamental structure of the United States, being that the camps were a HORRIBLE violation of the Bill of Rights.
Posted by bax292 2 years ago
Your argument is like saying all Muslims are terrorist.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Geogeer 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded the debate.