Why is Mr. Sakane questioned by th FBI and sent to an Army Internment Camp in Journey to Topaz?
In the aftermath of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, an atmosphere of fear and paranoia prevailed. The FBI was given orders
"to apprehend certain men who work(ed) for Japanese firms"
in the West Coast states of the country. Because Mr. Sakane was
"employed by one of Japan's largest business firms,"
he was taken in for questioning and imprisoned in an Army Internment Camp in Missoula, Montana.
Mr. Sakane was one of the first members of the community to be taken, but after a short time, as more and more men were arrested, it became clear that
"the FBI was rounding up all the leaders of the Japanese community."
The government feared that the Japanese Americans were a threat to the national security. Their flawed reasoning was that these people still retained loyalty to Japan, and would engage in spying and other possible acts of espionage against the United States. Even though German Americans and Italian Americans, whose lands of origin were also at war with the United States, were not molested, Japanese Americans were easy to identify because of their ethnic differences. After men like Mr. Sakane were taken, it was decided that the entire West Coast population of Japanese Americans was a threat, and so 120,000 Japanese Americans were precipitously uprooted and sent to "relocation camps" in remote desert areas away from the Pacific Coast for the duration of the war.