Lt. Onodaʻs Return: The Untold Story of a Japanese War Straggler
In December 1944, intelligence officer Hiroo Onoda of the Japanese Imperial Army was deployed to Lubang Island in the Philippines, where he was given orders to disrupt and sabotage enemy efforts. Although the Japanese surrendered on August 15, 1945, Onoda and three others vowed to continue this mission. After 30 years of living as a war straggler, Onoda surrendered to his ex-commander and received a hero’s welcome upon returning to his homeland. However, Japan and the Philippines saw Onoda’s return as a sensitive political and diplomatic matter that required careful orchestration.