WWII officer Onoda, who refused to surrender, dies

Former Japanese army officer Onoda dies

Former Japanese army officer dies — March 1974 photo shows Hiroo Onoda (C) saluting after handing over a military sword on Lubang Island in the northwestern Philippines. Onoda, a former Imperial Japanese Army intelligence officer who remained on the island for nearly 29 years without knowledge of Japan’s surrender in World War II, died of heart failure on Jan. 16. Kyodo News photo

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Hiroo Onoda, a former Imperial Japanese Army intelligence officer who continued fighting on a Philippine island for decades after Japan’s surrender in World War II, died of heart failure at a Tokyo hospital Jan. 16, his family said. He was 91.

Onoda, who hailed from Wakayama Prefecture, returned to Japan in March 1974, after having remained in the jungle on Lubang Island in the northwestern Philippines for nearly 29 years after the end of the war.

He did not believe information regarding Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II.

Onoda, who was drafted in 1942, received training at the army’s Nakano School for intelligence officers and was sent to the island in 1944.

He had said he continued his wartime mission on the island because he had not received orders from his superiors to stop.

After returning to Japan, Onoda emigrated in 1975 to Brazil, where he ran a farm.

Since 1984, he had organized the Onoda Shizen Juku educational camps for young people throughout Japan.

He authored several books including “No Surrender: My Thirty-year War.”

In 1996, he visited Lubang for the first time in 22 years.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference, “I vividly remember that I was reassured of the end of the war when Mr. Onoda returned to Japan.”

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