Wednesday , May 25 2022

License plates that include ethnic slurries are recalled after complaints


A complaint about an ethnic offensive to a Japanese American has motivated Kansas to remember hundreds of license plates that include the "JAP" random letter combination.

The issue arose in October 2017 when Keith Kawamoto, 70, saw a Kansas license plate near his Los Angeles home and took a picture of it. Kawamoto wrote several letters to Kansas officials, including Government Jeff Colyer.

"I let them know that it is considered a very racist scream and I do not think that it should be allowed anywhere," said Kawamoto.

Kansas motor vehicle departments apologized, but Kawamoto wanted Kansas to have all the plates that included the combination of three letters that were recorded.

The Pacific Citizen, the American American Citizens' Alliance newspaper, first shot Kawamoto's shot of the Kansas plate.

When Barbara Johnson, a 67-year-old Japanese-American woman living in Abilene, Kansas, told the story of the Pacific Citizen, he said he was bringing back memories of childhood.

"It was not a good time to be Japanese because of Pearl Harbor and the Second World War," said Johnson. "I remember amazingly as a child was called" Jap "and how it made me feel small and hurt by getting Call it that. "

Johnson acknowledged that Kansas officials did not probably know "what it means no longer because it's in the Second World War, a few generations ago."

With Rick's husband, the couple of Kansas decided to do what Kawamoto had not got: getting the plates called off and off.

Rachel Whitten, spokesman for the Kansas Revenues Department, said that the matter had come before the departmental review board, who made the decision last month to remove any current license plates with the letters and stop using it in the plates in the future

"She was very pleased to know that someone in the government who was ready to hear our story side and to recognize and act proactively on it was as fast as he did, "said Rick Johnson.

The Kansas Revenue Department reported that there were 731 active registrations that included the random letter combination on standard license plates. A letter of vehicle owners dated Tuesday was sent asking them to return the plate to their county vehicle office within 30 days of resetting at no cost.

This Associated Press contributed to this report.

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