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Second Devotee of Hirohito Kills Self, Follows Emperor

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From Times Wire Services

A second devotee of the late Japanese Emperor Hirohito has hanged himself, saying he wanted to follow his monarch into the afterlife, police said Sunday.

They said 76-year-old former navy midshipman Yoshichi Terunuma hanged himself from a tree in a forest near Katsuta City north of Tokyo on Saturday, soon after Hirohito’s death was announced.

He left a note saying: “Pardon me for accompanying (you) as a . . . trusted retainer of the great marshal, the emperor.”

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On Saturday, an 87-year-old war veteran hanged himself in the southern prefecture of Wakayama and left a note saying: “I will follow his majesty on his death.”

But the grief was not universal. Many Japanese and foreigners said they do not mourn a man who led the Japanese during their bid for domination of Asia, ending in the total defeat of 1945.

And a radical Japanese guerrilla group based in the Middle East hailed the death of the emperor, vowing to overthrow his son and successor.

“The war responsibility of Japanese imperialism cannot be pardoned by the death of Tenno (Emperor) Hirohito, the war criminal who is responsible for the massacre of 48 million Japanese and Asian people,” the Japanese Red Army said in a statement.

The statement, written in English, was sent to a news agency in Beirut.

Hirohito, who became emperor in 1926, has been succeeded by his son, Akihito.

“New Tenno Akihito, the eldest son of Ultra A class war criminal, has taken over from Hirohito the status of oppressor against the people,” the statement said. “We condemn the new tenno. . . . We in the Japanese Red Army shall struggle to overthrow tennoism.”

The Japanese Red Army was formed during the 1960s and is believed to have ties to Libya and to West German radicals.

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