10 March 1974 Japanese soldier surrenders…29 years late.


In 1944, Lt. Hiroo Onoda was sent by the Japanese army to the remote Philippine island of Lubang, to conduct guerrilla warfare during World War II. Unfortunately, he was never officially told the war had ended and for 29 years, he continued to live in the jungle, eating coconuts and bananas and evading searching parties he believed were enemy scouts. Onoda was “found” by a college student, Norio Suzuki in February 1974, but he would not believe the war was over until orders were issued by a commanding officer.  His original commanding officer was eventually tracked down and flew to meet him where he read out the official surrender from 1945.

When Onoda reached Japan, he was hailed a hero, but found things much different from what he remembered ! He subsequently bought a ranch and moved to Brazil. In May 1996, he returned to the Philippines to see once again the island on which he had hidden for 30 years.


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