A World War II Japanese soldier, Hirgo Onoda, who had remained hidden on a Philippines jungle island for 29 years in the belief that the war had not yet ended, returned to civilisation on Sunday (10 March).
MV Onoda escorted by officers
MV Onoda shaking hands with General Rancudo.
GV Onoda handing over his sword to General Rancudo
MV Onoda shaking hand with General Rancudo
MV Onoda accompanied by Japanese official
MV Onoda with Japanese Ambassador
CU Onoda pan down to his sword
CU & MV Onoda speaking
Cutaway people watching
MV Onoda saluting
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Background: A World War II Japanese soldier, Hirgo Onoda, who had remained hidden on a Philippines jungle island for 29 years in the belief that the war had not yet ended, returned to civilisation on Sunday (10 March).
Sub-Lieutenant Onoda stepped out of the jungle on his 52nd birthday and handed over his ceremonial sword to General Rancudo at the Philippine Air Force headquarters on Lubang Island. General Rancudo immediately handed back the sword to Onoda in recognition of what he called an "exemplary life".
Lt. Onoda's return was the result of efforts by a Japanese search party-which had gone to Lubang Island, 75 miles southwest of Manila, to soc him out. The search party included his wartime commander format major Yoshimi Taniguchi, and Norio Suzuki, a 24-year-old Japanese student who met him last month while camping on the Island.
Onoda had remained-hidden on Lubang Island since 1944 after being ordered by his wartime commander to remain there and carry out espionage work. He surrendered only after Taniguchi contacted him on Saturday night (9 March 1974) and showed him a copy of Japanese Emperor Hirohito's 1945 surrender order.
Speaking at a press conference, Onoda said his worst experience in the jungle was the death of his companions, the last of whom was private Kinshichi Kozuka, who was killed in October 1972 during a shooting clash with a Philippines police patrol.
When asked why he had held out for so long, Onoda replied: "I am a soldier. I can only obey orders. Without orders I cannot surrender."
Onoda will return to Japan on Tuesday (12 March). He met Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos on Monday (11 March) at Malacanang Palace after being flown to Manila from Lubang Island.