Published: Sat, March 17, 2018

Zinke says 'Konnichiwa' after hearing WWII story

Zinke says 'Konnichiwa' after hearing WWII story

"I think it's still 'Ohayo gozaimasu, ' but that's okay", Hanabusa replied, referring to the Japanese phrase for "good morning".

Several of Hanabusas colleagues voiced outrage about the exchange after it circulated social media later in the day, saying Zinke had shown a profound insensitivity toward Asian Americans.

Democratic Rep. Judy Chu, of California, says Zinke responded to Hanabusa as if she didn't speak English. The Japanese American Citizens League released a statement shortly after the incident, pointing out that he was not only disrespectful of the congresswoman but that his comment reflected the "perpetual foreigner" stereotype ― the idea that Asian-Americans can never be "American enough".

"My colleague asked Sec".

Zinke's remark - the Japanese word meaning "good afternoon" - was perceived by some as insensitive or flippant, with Sen.

"The internment of almost 120,000 Japanese Americans is no laughing matter", Sen.

Zinke's cringe-worthy remark came after she asked him about President Donald Trump's elimination of the Japanese American Confinement Sites grant program. "What you thought was a clever response to RepHanabusa was flippant and juvenile".


Hanabusa's office and the Interior Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The group said he should have acknowledged Hanabusa's family story and underscored that the "history of the incarceration of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans is a shameful, dark moment in USA history that should be remembered as such by this administration".

Hanabusa's point was to highlight a grant that helps preserve Japanese-American confinement sites - and how that funding isn't included in the administration's 2019 budget.

Zinke paused and then suggested he would fund the program and promised to work with Hanabusa on the issue. "I believe that it is essential that we as a nation recognize our darkest moments so that we dont have them repeat again".

Zinke said at Thursday's hearing that any absence of future funding for the program "probably got caught up" among other items in the budget and that he would look into it.

"I understand the importance of it to American history", he said.

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