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A newly released memo by a wartime Japanese official provides what a historian says is the first look at the thinking of Emperor Hirohito and Prime Minister Hideki Tojo on the eve of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that thrust the U.S. into World War II.At 8:30 p.m. in Tokyo, just hours before the attack, Tojo summoned two top aides for a countdown to war briefing. To what extent Hirohito was responsible for the war is a sensitive topic in Japan, and the bookseller who discovered the memo kept it under wraps for nearly a decade before releasing it to Japan's Yomiuri newspaper, which published it earlier this week.Takahisa Furukawa, a Nihon University expert on wartime history who has confirmed the authenticity of the memo, called it the first detailed portrayal of Tojo and Hirohito just before the attack. Palace documents have confirmed Hirohito's daytime meeting with Tojo on Dec. 7, 1941, but without elaborating.The memo supports the view that Hirohito was not as concerned about waging war on the U.S. as was once portrayed, Furukawa said.
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