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when exactly must a player choose to yield Tokyo? Today we had a game and the player in Tokyo took 1 attack and decided to stay in Tokyo. The player whose turn it was, then bought a card that dealt two damage to all other players. The player in Tokyo now decided to yield Tokyo.

I feel like the player must make this decision based on the dice resolution's results and not be able to change their mind after a card if purchased.

The rules are awfully unclear on this but do specify that a player can not decide to yield tokyo based on taking damage from a card.

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This is what the rules have to say:

If you are attacked while in Tokyo and you don’t want to be there anymore (and who can blame you – it can be rough!) you can yield to the Monster that attacked (he has to take your place). You still take the damage, however.

And close by:

Warning: A Discard card that deals damage to you is not an attack

Does he think he can leave at any point in the turn after he is attacked?

The rule says "if you are attacked", not "if you were attacked". Everyone with whom I've played has understood the first paragraph I quoted to mean one can only choose to cede Tokyo as one is attacked. There is no chance to leave Tokyo at any point until the monster in Tokyo is attacked again.

Does he think taking damage from a card is an attack?

The second paragraph I quoted makes it clear it isn't.

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