Japan’s former emperor tried to stop his country siding with the Nazis in the lead-up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a new biography claims.

Emperor Hirohito allegedly warned the attacks in July 1941 would cause ‘nothing less than a self-destructive war’.

And in the wake of the Second World War, he told US commanders he blamed himself for failing to stop it.

The claims come from a 12,000-page account of the leader’s life, which has taken 24 years and £2.2 million to compile at the cost of the Japanese taxpayer.

It will be released in stages over the next five years, but some Japanese media outlets have been given advance extracts.

The tome portrays a sympathetic view of Hirohito as a man who rallied against army leaders.

He is remembered by some in Japan as a driving force in the nation’s march to war with the Germans.

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