It seems that George Yoshinaga writes and prints material AGAINST the JACL and those closely associated with the JACL whenever he can. He included in his column fabricated allegations about me and the JACL from an alleged email supposedly received from someone who claims to have been at a meeting of the board of the Salt Lake City JACL chapter. Although it should be unnecessary to explain the erroneous charges, this letter is written to give the correct version of the matters mentioned in the column.
No, I was not fired by the National Board. I gave my notice in April 2011 of my intent to retire from the staff of the JACL. The board did not immediately act on it, and I am still working in the same position on a part-time basis through the transition period until June 1, 2012. My replacement indicated that she was not available to take over full-time until that date.
I purchase the cheapest airline tickets I can find when traveling for the JACL and sometimes use free, award, or comp airplane tickets. Due to the fact that I had previously flown over 2 million miles before joining the JACL staff, I do sometimes receive free upgrades to first class or a one-class upgrade from purchased coach tickets on one particular airline.
Whenever I made a trip to Japan for the Japan relief and recovery effort, a coach-class airplane ticket was purchased for me by Direct Relief International (DRI), the JACL’s partner. DRI personnel were present during such trips, and DRI is the entity that collects and handles all the Japan relief funds for DRI and the JACL. The relief money is transferred electronically, and no one carries the money personally to Japan.
There was reference to a photograph of me in a “crisp suit,” presumably in front of the devastation in Japan. On travel to the devastated areas, I have dressed casually. The photograph referred to is likely one in a video that was presented as a surprise to me at the last National JACL Convention and which is now on YouTube. The photo was taken in Tokyo, where I wore business attire when meeting with a group that was a potential partner for the JACL and DRI in the relief work. They were gathering and preparing supplies to be delivered to the hard-hit areas.
While the JACL board did approve an emeritus status for me in order that I may represent the JACL on a volunteer basis with some ongoing work for the organization, they certainly did not offer any financial compensation. The notion that the board would approve, or even consider, giving me $100,000 of first-class airline tickets per year and/or travel expenses for the budget of $150,000 is absolutely ludicrous.
The person who is said to have written the email and professes to have attended the Salt Lake City chapter board meeting said they will stop a motion that does not exist.
Jeanette Misaka, chapter president and IDC governor, who was mentioned in the article, stated that the issues in the email were not discussed at the chapter meeting except for the matter to grant an emeritus title, which she did vote at the National Board meeting to approve. She has checked with the board members who were present at the meeting, and everyone has denied any knowledge of the purported email.
The Rafu Shimpo has been considered to be a credible news source. Therefore, I would expect the Rafu to offer a retraction and apology for printing the false and misleading statements against me and the JACL that were presented in the Horse’s Mouth column.
JACL National Executive Director