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Emperor Hirohito’s announcement of Japan’s surrender at the end of the Second Word War came as a blessed relief to millions of Japanese who had suffered during the long hostilities, but not everybody was prepared to lay down their arms. Japanese soldiers had been indoctrinated to fight onto death, refuse surrender and sacrifice themselves instead of being taken as prisoners. So when the shocking announcement came through the mouth of the Emperor on 15 August 1945, hundreds of soldiers went into hiding out of embarrassment. Some continued fighting for years after the war had ended.

Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda was 22 years old when he was sent to Lubang Island in the Philippines in December 1944, as an intelligence officer. Onoda’s job was to disrupt and sabotage enemy efforts, and he had special orders that stated that under no circumstances was he to surrender or take his own life.


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