It was a Sunday when the prince decided to end it all.

Fumimaro Konoe, 54, scion of one of Japan’s most noble families and three-time prime minister, stood in the study of his stately Tokyo villa, with its broad Japanese garden and pond. Perhaps he contemplated the past few years and the disaster of the war.

It was Dec. 16, 1945, the day Konoe was due to report to Allied Occupation authorities to answer charges of war crimes. He took out a capsule of potassium cyanide he had prepared and ingested the poison. He was dead in minutes.