Friday, January 17, 2014

Lt Onoda's war is finished


Hiroo Onoda, presumably the last holdout from the Second World War, has died in Japan at the age of 91. True to the emperor-worshiping fanaticism of the Imperial Japanese Army, the young lieutenant was told to stay and fight in the Philippines, and stay he did, not surrendering until 1974, and then only because his brother and his former commander flew from Japan to Manila to assure him that he was indeed released from duty. He surrendered his sword to the Philippine president, who rather generously absolved him from the deaths of up to thirty villagers killed by Onoda and his fellows in the intervening years. He returned to a hero's welcome in Japan.

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