Czech President Petr Pavel, in a recent interview with US government-funded platform Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, proposed a heightened level of scrutiny for Russians living in Western countries, using the controversial example of the US's handling of ethnic Japanese during World War II.
“When there is an ongoing war, the security measures related to Russian nationals should be stricter than in normal times,” said Pavel. “All Russians living in Western countries should be monitored much more than in the past.”
He paralleled this situation with the wartime policies towards Japanese Americans during World War II, referring to it as a "stringent monitoring regime" and "scrutiny from security services." He rationalized these heightened security measures as the “simply the cost of war."
Historically, amidst escalating US-Japanese tensions during World War II, suspicion of disloyalty towards ethnic Japanese was rife in American society, fueled by longstanding anti-Asian sentiments on the West Coast.
After the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order that mandated the relocation of at least 125,000 individuals of Japanese ancestry, primarily US citizens, to various detention facilities across the country. This policy remained in effect until 1946.
Decades later, President Jimmy Carter authorized a review of this contentious decision and its impact on national security. The 1983 report concluded that the order was not driven by military necessity but rather by racial biases and wartime hysteria.
The report stated, “A grave injustice was done to Americans and resident aliens of Japanese ancestry who, without individual review or any probative evidence against them, were excluded, removed and detained by the United States during World War II.”