Onoda, Japanese World War II soldier who waited until 1974 to surrender, dead at 91 - InfoNews

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Onoda, Japanese World War II soldier who waited until 1974 to surrender, dead at 91

FILE - In this May 20, 1996 file photo, former Japanese straggler Hiroo Onoda answers questions from media during a news conference in a Manila hotel upon arrival for a sentimental journey. Onoda, the last Japanese imperial soldier to emerge from hiding in the jungle in Philippines and surrender after World War II, has died. He was 91. Onoda died Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 at a Tokyo hospital. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)
January 16, 2014 - 10:35 PM

TOKYO - Hiroo Onoda, the last Japanese imperial soldier to emerge from hiding and surrender after World War II, has died. He was 91.

Onoda died Thursday at a Tokyo hospital. Chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga expressed his condolences Friday, praising Onoda for his strong will to live.

Onoda was an intelligence officer who came out of hiding on Lubang island in the Philippines in March 1974 and surrendered only when his former commander flew there to reverse his 1945 orders to stay behind.

Onoda and another World War II holdout, Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi, who emerged from the jungle in 1972, received massive heroes' welcomes upon returning home.

In his formal surrender to Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, Onoda wore his 30-year-old imperial army uniform, cap and sword, all still in good condition.

News from © The Associated Press, 2014
The Associated Press

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