Former Japanese soldier Azuma Shiro, whose diary discloses Japan's wartime atrocities against the Chinese, died Tuesday at the age of 93.
Shiro died of cancer at 11:48 a.m. Tuesday (GMT 0248) in a hospital in Kyoto Prefecture. He was hospitalized last month.
Shiro was a soldier in the Japanese army that occupied Nanjing, then China's capital, in December 1937. In the following weeks they killed more than 300,000 unarmed Chinese soldiers and civilians.
He recorded the atrocities in his diary and had it published in 1987, which triggered Japanese rightist politicians' charge of " lying." Azuma Shiro was brought to court in 1993 and lost the lawsuit. In 2000, the Japanese Supreme Court denied Shiro's appeal in which he sought to acknowledge the history of the invasion of China.
The penitent war veteran had been to China several times. Together with the Memorial Hall to Victims of the Nanjing Massacre and a Japan-based committee, Azuma Shiro collected evidences to prove the truth of his diary, denouncing Japanese right-wing activists who attempt to deny the slaughter. He also made speeches in various places in Japan to tell the truth of the Nanjing Massacre.
Some 60,000 Chinese people have mailed letters to the Nanjing memorial hall to express their support for Shiro, curator of the memorial hall said.
"I must continue the appeal because this has not been my personal issue. I believe the world opinion will strongly support the historical facts and justice," Shiro said in 2000 in Shanghai, after the Japanese Supreme Court denied his appeal.