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Palisades Park and the First Amendment

“I explained that Americans expected Beijing, a communist dictatorship, neither to understand nor appreciate our Bill of Rights. But it is far more disturbing that an American ally, who aspires to the same democratic values that we do, would demonstrate such a lack of understanding.” ~ Dennis P. Halpin

In 2010, the community of Palisades Park, New Jersey dedicated a small memorial to the memory of the “comfort women,” the tens of thousands of women, many of whom were Korean, who were forced into sexual slavery by Japanese military during World War II. In May 2012, the Japanese government sent two delegations of Japanese officials to Palisades Park to implore the local government to remove the memorial; their efforts were unsuccessful and have thus, inspired other Korean communities across the United States to erect similar memorials.

On the first anniversary of this international incident, Dennis P. Halpin, former House Foreign Relations Committee staff member and current Visiting Scholar at the US-Korea Institute at SAIS, discusses discusses why the Japanese government’s efforts, beyond being ineffective, were unconstitutional and should not be repeated. Download USKI Policy Brief “Palisades Park and the First Amendment,” by Dennis P. Halpin.

Dennis P. Halpin is currently a visiting scholar at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Korea, U.S. consul in Pusan, and a House Foreign Affairs Committee staff member for over twelve years.