(WICHITA, Kan.) – Kansas is recalling hundreds of vehicle license plates on the streets containing the "JAP" lettering in the wake of a complaint that it is an ethnic slur offensive to Japanese Americans.
The Kansas Department of Revenue said there are 731 active registrations containing that random letter combination on standard license plates. Vehicle owners were asked to return the plate to their county vehicle office within 30 days for replacement at no cost.
Keith Kawamoto spotted a car on the Kansas plate near his home in Culver City, California , and took a photo of it. The 70-year-old California has several letters to Kansas officials, including Gov. Jeff Colyer.
"I let them know it is a derogatory racial slur and I do not think it should be allowed anywhere," Kawamoto said.
Kawamoto's photo of the Kansas plate was first published by the Pacific Citizen, the newspaper of the Japanese American Citizens League.
When Barbara Johnson, a 67-year-old Japanese -American woman living in Abilene, Kansas, Kawamoto had taken and read the story in the Pacific.
"It's not a good time to be Japanese because of Pearl Harbor and World War II, "she said. Johnson recalled the license plate with the offensive slur, and said: "I recall it as a child being called."
she thought maybe kansas officials "just do not know what it means anymore because it was World War II, a couple of generations ago."
Together with her husband, Rick, the Kansas had a couple maybe they Kawamoto had
"It's very gratifying to know someone in government that is willing to hear." Rick Johnson said.
Rachel Whitten, Spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Revenue said the issue came before the board's review board, which made the decision in late October to pull any current license plates with the "
"Contact us at [email protected]"
"We do take these types of complaints very seriously and appreciate their attention to our attention," Whitten said.