Japan’s former emperor tried to stop his country siding with the Nazis in the lead-up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a new biography claims.
Emperor Hirohito allegedly warned the attacks in July 1941 would cause ‘nothing less than a self-destructive war’.
And in the wake of the Second World War, he told US commanders he blamed himself for failing to stop it.
The claims come from a 12,000-page account of the leader’s life, which has taken 24 years and £2.2 million to compile at the cost of the Japanese taxpayer.
It will be released in stages over the next five years, but some Japanese media outlets have been given advance extracts.
The tome portrays a sympathetic view of Hirohito as a man who rallied against army leaders.
He is remembered by some in Japan as a driving force in the nation’s march to war with the Germans.
Others, however, believe he was helpless to control a corrupt military state.
The emperor’s role in the war was never firmly established.
He was shielded from indictment in the Tokyo war crimes trials by a US occupation that wanted to use him as a symbol to rebuild Japan
In an apparent bid to settle the confusion, Japan’s Imperial Household Agency commissioned a 61-volume biography of Hirohito a year after he died in 1989 following 62 years on the throne.
It claims he complained in July 1939 to Army Minister Seishiro Itagaki about the military’s ‘predisposition’ as it strengthened its relationship with Germany, according to Japan’s Kyodo news agency.
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