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Japanese WWII soldier, who hid in jungle until 1974, dies

Published on Jan 17, 2014 12:44 PM
This picture taken on March 11, 1974, shows former Japanese imperial army soldier Hiroo Onoda (second left) walking from the jungle where he had hidden since World War II, on Lubang island in the Philippines. Mr Onoda has died in Tokyo at the age of 91. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO(AFP) - A Japanese soldier who hid in the Philippine jungle for three decades because he did not believe World War II was over, has died in Tokyo aged 91.

Mr Hiroo Onoda waged a guerilla campaign in Lubang Island near Luzon until he was finally persuaded in 1974 that peace had broken out.

Leaflet drops and other efforts to convince him the Imperial Army had been defeated were unsuccessful, and it was only a visit from his former commanding officer, who ordered him to lay down his arms, that brought an end to his war.

Mr Onoda was the last of several dozen so-called holdouts scattered around Asia, men who symbolised the astonishing perseverance of those called upon to fight for their emperor.

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