Resettlement and Repatriation
On December 17, 1944, the War Department revoked the West Coast mass exclusion orders and the following day announced plans to close all relocation centers by the end of 1945. Although Japanese Americans were gradually released for military service, employment in vital industries, or to attend college, the last camp (Tule Lake) did not close until March 1946.
Prior to the official release of internees, a small number of Nisei students like Ruth Watanabe and Thomas Tokuhisa applied to East Coast universities. Aided by the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council, a select contingent of students left camp to enroll in East Coast institutions.
While some internees returned to the West Coast, a greater number relocated to the East Coast and Midwest in search of employment. The WRA sought to facilitate the reintegration of Japanese Americans through hostel and employment programs, yet former internees confronted institutionalized racism that made securing employment and housing difficult. Even after September 2, 1945 with the war’s conclusion, 44,000 individuals—primarily the elderly, sick, and those with nowhere else to go—still remained in camp.