Japanese Soldier Who Missed the End of WWII by Three Decades Dies

"I am very competitive," he said

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A Japanese soldier who continued fighting World War II decades after it had ended died on Friday at the age of 91.

Hiroo Onoda remained locked in active duty on Lubang Island in the Philippines for 29 years. He monitored military sites, clashed with local residents and dismissed all news of Japan’s surrender as an enemy ploy.

Not until 1974, when his aged commander personally came to the island to relieve him of duty, did Onoda agree to pack it in. “I am very competitive,” said Onoda in a 2010 interview. It would make an understated epitaph.