The essential parameters of the BC Redress Framework were developed under the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) and a number of documents and presentations to the BC Government by the NAJC BC Redress Project under Susanne Tabata, who was a board member of the NAJC at the time.

In 2019, the NAJC BC Redress Steering Committee, led by Maryka Omatsu and Art Miki, conducted community consultations producing the report, Recommendations for Redressing Historical Wrongs Against Japanese Canadians in BC (Omatsu & co. 2019).  By November 2019, Susanne Tabata was appointed to lead the BC Redress Project – communications strategy, negotiations, and development of initiatives,  conducting key stakeholder validations, breaking down the meta data from the original consultations, and shaping legacy initiatives across six pillars: education; heritage; seniors health & wellness; community & culture; monument and anti-racism, BC Redress Asks Development and Communications Road Map (Tabata/Noble 2020). Additional community consultations with Japanese Canadian organizations occurred through 2020. A presentation to the Premier’s Office of the NAJC BC Redress Japanese Canadian Legacy Initiatives (Tabata/July 2020). Analysis on seniors health care needs and justification of loss of identity performed by the Institute of Fiscal Studies in Democracy (IFSD September 2020); and a series of five meetings to present six concrete BC Redress pillars to BC Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, and senior ministerial staff through 2021, culminating in a final summary package delivered to Premier Horgan on September 22, 2021, Legacy Initiatives to Redress Historical Wrongs Against Japanese Canadians (Tabata/Noble September 2021).  A subsequent $100 million framework was approved by the NAJC national executive board and the national council on March 30, 2022.  At the time the BC Redress team was  BC Redress Project Director Susanne Tabata, honorary co-chair Maryka Omatsu, honorary co-chair Art Miki, NAJC President Lorene Oikawa, and Government Relations Paul Kariya.

On May 21, 2022, BC Premier John Horgan announced the BC Government would be providing $100 Million towards legacy initiatives honouring Japanese Canadians. This came as a result of BC Redress, which the NAJC had been leading and developing with community legitimacy, input, and support. In order to be accountable to the Province and to the community, an oversight board was created in BC, the Japanese Canadian Legacies Society (JCLS), which oversees the implementation of the Japanese Canadian Legacy Initiatives


At the May 21, 2022 announcement, the substance of six pillars – education, heritage, community, monument, seniors health & wellness, and anti-racism – had been approved in principle by the BC Government. The agreements had not yet been finalized, and the funds had not been released. In September and October 2022, two grants totalling 62 million were issued to the Japanese Canadian Legacies Society to address pre-determined legacy initiatives in education, heritage, seniors health & wellness, and community & culture. In early 2024, it is expected the balance of payment and the monument will both be realized.



Karen Nishi | Brian Tsuji | Larry Okada | Fred Yada | Paul Kariya | Susanne Tabata. Photo John Endo Greenaway.

The Japanese Canadian Legacies Society

The NAJC approved the formation of a new board which would be accountable to the BC Government and the community in its oversight of the implementation of the BC Redress initiatives. The BC-based governance board would support the continued work on the various pillars. Susanne Tabata was approved by the NAJC to carry the file to the new society. The constitution of the JCLS reflects the purpose to implement the legacy initiatives as carried forward from the NAJC BC Redress Project, as an approved $100M framework (March 30, 2022), and with staff to implement the initiatives. The JCLS is responsible to the BC Government and the community and will be reporting on all initiatives quarterly. The NAJC NEB and National Council approved the formation of the oversight board. On June 29, 2022, the new society was incorporated and the approved set of directors was named: Fred Yada, Brian Tsuji, Larry Okada, Karen Nishi, Paul Kariya, and Susanne Tabata. Infrastructure has been set up to manage the money. All initiatives are in keeping with approved set of Japanese Canadian Legacy Initiatives developed from 2020-2022.  In October, 2022, NAJC President Les Kojima joined the Board of the JCLS, with Susanne Tabata named CEO, tasked with running the implementation of the initiatives.

The work is ongoing.

Japanese Canadian Legacies are initiatives that honour our elders past and present. We are grateful to be doing this work on the ancestral lands of the Coast Salish peoples.