Kansas recalls 731 license plates over ethnic slur

Kansas is recalling hundreds of vehicle license plates on the streets containing the “JAP” lettering in the wake of complaints pointing out 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 sent a letter dated Tuesday asking them to return the plate to their county vehicle office within 30 days for replacement at no cost. Plates not replaced within that period will be identified in the state’s system and will be replaced at their annual renewal.

The issue arose last year when Keith Kawamoto spotted a car with the Kansas plate in traffic near his home in Culver City, California, and took a photo of it. The 70-year-old California man wrote several letters to Kansas officials, including Gov. Jeff Colyer.

“I let them know it is considered a very derogatory racial slur and I don’t think it should be allowed anywhere,” Kawamoto said.

He got an apology back from the state’s motor vehicles division, but Kawamoto wanted Kansas to get the plates recalled.