Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseAkira Soji was a 30-year veteran of the Japanese Navy. At the rank of captain, he was the commanding officer of heavy cruiser Mogami between Dec 1941 and Dec 1942, then heavy cruiser Nachi between Dec 1942 and Sep 1943. With Mogami, he participated in the Battle of the Java Sea where USS Houston and HMAS Perth were sunk and the Battle of Midway where the cruiser suffered damage from dive bombers and a collision. With Nachi, he served in the North Pacific, participating in the Battle of the Komandorski Islands where cruiser Salt Lake City and Nachi exchanged gunfire; during that battle, a shell from Salt Lake City landed in Nachi's chart house, merely 15 feet away from where Soji was standing. He was promoted to the rank of rear admiral on 1 May 1944 and was placed in charge of the First Transportation Corps that transported supplies from Taiwan to the Philippine Islands. He returned to Tokyo as the chief of the Meteorological Department in Apr 1945. He was interrogated by American naval personnel after the war, and was commented to be a "vigorous and athletic for a man of his age", but "at times he was unable to remember exact details of engagements". Also after the war, Soji and Captain Peyton Harrison of Salt Lake City met in Tokyo and re-enacted the Battle of the Komandorski Islands with matchsticks on a table. They concluded that both sides suffered many lost opportunities that could have dramatically changed the outcome of the battle.
ww2dbaseSource: Interrogations of Japanese Officials.
Last Major Revision: Mar 2007
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945
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