Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke came under fire Thursday after answering "konnichiwa" to a Democratic congresswoman's story of her grandparents' internment during World War II.
Hanabusa - whose were sent to the internment camps by the American government during World War II - understandably appears to take the issue of remembering these grievous wrongs very seriously.
'It is essential that we as a nation recognize our darkest moments so that we don't have them repeat again'.
Zinke's remark - the Japanese word meaning "good afternoon" - was perceived by some as insensitive or flippant, with Sen.
"Are you committed to continue to grant programs that are identified, I believe, as the Japanese American Confinement Sites grants program which were funded in 2017?"
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is drawing criticism for his use of a Japanese greeting when responding to a question from a congresswoman of Japanese descent.
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'I think it's still "Ohayo gozaimasu",' she shot back, correcting him to reflect that it was still morning.
Hirono is the first female Asian-American U.S. senator, and the first senator born on Japanese soil. Democrat Representative of California Judy Chu called for Zinke to apologize.
"The internment of almost 120,000 Japanese Americans is no laughing matter, Secretary Zinke".
Zinke ultimately told Hanabusa he would look into the funding, saying "it is important" to preserve such sites.
President Donald Trumps proposed 2019 budget doesnt seek funding - about $2 million in previous years - for the Japanese American Confinement Sites program, the goal of which is to study and preserve internment camps for the benefit of future generations.