A Japanese interpreter confirmed that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose died at a military hospital in Taipei after a plane crash in 1945, according to information released by a UK website set up to catalogue the last days of the nationalist leader.
Kazunori Kunizuka, who worked as an interpreter with Bose from 1943 to 1945, is still alive and has recorded in graphic detail in his diary the last days of Bose and his death as a result of a plane crash at Taipei on August 18, 1945, said the website bosefiles.info.
The information was conveyed to the website by Noburu Okabe, London correspondent of the Sankei Shimbun newspaper, who also handed over a copy of the diary to the website.
Ashis Ray, Bose’s grandnephew and creator of the website, said “The diary is in Japanese. We will get it translated and post relevant portions from it in due course”.
According to Okabe, Kanizuka is 98 years old and lives in an old people’s home in Kobe in Japan. Okabe has met him and testified the diary unequivocally confirms Bose’s demise in a Japanese military hospital in Taipei after the air tragedy.
Earlier when Ray visited Taipei, he met Yukichi Arai, son of Captain Keikichi Arai, a Japanese army officer who was one of seven survivors (of an estimated total of 14 passengers and crew, including Bose, on the flight) of the crash. Captain Arai died in 1971.
However, he, too, recorded in his diary that Bose succumbed to injuries suffered in the crash.
As per his description, soon after take-off from Taipei the Japanese bomber carrying Bose “immediately lost speed, crashed and went up in flames”.
Of the seven survivors, six deposed before either the 1956 Netaji Inquiry Committee or the 1974 Justice G D Khosla Commission or both, including Bose’s most trusted aide de camp Colonel Habibur Rehman and Captain Arai. All six independently submitted Bose died consequent to the crash.
Two Japanese doctors Dr Taneyoshi Yoshimi and Dr Toyoshi Tsuruta - and a Taiwanese nurse Tsan Pi Sha - who treated him at the hospital or were by his bedside when he passed away, another interpreter Juichi Nakamura (who personally knew Bose from previous visits to Taipei) and Colonel Rehman, gave eyewitness evidence of Bose’s final moments and of him breathing his last.
Also, there are at least three first-hand testimonies of Bose’s cremation at Taipei as provided by Tan Ti-Ti, a Taiwanese who worked at the crematorium and personally prepared the body for the last rites, Ko Keng Yuan, a Taiwanese health official, and Colonel Rehman.
Bose died in the air crash in Taipei in 1945, according to documents that form part of 100 secret files, comprising 16,600 pages which were made public by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Bose’s 119th birth anniversary last month.