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The path to national security and wealth is by control of resources. Usually in world history this has been accomplished by outright military control of those resource bases by creation of colonies. The ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Persians all did this. The Mongols were successful at it too. In more modern times, the west European nations have led the way - Spain/Portugal first, followed later by the Dutch, English, French, and Belgians. Moving overland, the Russians also garnered a vast empire of conquered peoples. Very late to the scramble were Germany, Italy, and Japan. Japan, an island nation, was similar in many respects to England. Imported raw materials were critical to national survival. Exports of industrial goods was encouraged. The islands were overpopulated/crowded, the people aggressive and militaristic, with a 'prima dona' complex when it came to foreigners. The only real difference in the two was that Japan came late to the colonial 'table'. In fact, by the time Japan began to conquer a colony or two, the English had already taken choice colonial possessions right in Japans backyard. The expansionist and aggressive Americans had also cooked up a war with Spain so that they could run off with the remnants of that nations colonies, which included areas next to Japan. Japan did not wish direct confrontation with either America or Britain. Asia contained plenty of space for the Japanese to colonize, mainly via China. Japan never tried to enter the home base spheres of those two powers, as they had Japan's. Ignoring their own suppression of colonial peoples, the Americans and British quickly began to criticize the Japanese for trying to colonize parts of China. Ultimately this led to the Americans organizing with Britain and the Netherlands to freeze Japanese financial assets. This meant that almost 100% of Japan's most critical import, oil, could not be purchased. Some, even in America, has considered this a virtual declaration of war by the USA. The Japanese argued among themselves for a bit over whether they should submit to American control of their national destiny or fight for a place in the sun too. Ultimately the fighters won out, Japan started a shooting war in the Pacific, and lost everything. To this day, Japan is thus a second rate power, despite its large economy. The military is hobbled. 100% of the colonial empire was stripped (many parts going to the Americans). Japan remains under the military umbrella of the USA to this day.

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17y ago
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12y ago

Because they wanted to become more powerful and wanted a bigger population

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12y ago

Japan needed resources not available in Japan .

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11y ago

They wanted expansion to acquire more raw materials, which they needed to become an industrial power. During World War II they sought to occupy and control all of Asia.

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Q: Why did japan seek to build a empire in Asia?
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What group took control of Japan after 1930?

To the outside world, Hirohito was the emperor and thus, by definition, the dictatorial leader of Japan. However, there were many political groups in Japan vying for power, especially after 1930. The war with China created a huge split in the Japanese political structure. The army wanted to keep fighting in China. They demanded more and more resources be devoted to this campaign. The army had captured much of north and coastal China by 1935. This area was organized by the Japanese to supply much of the Japanese army, so that the campaign became self supporting to some extent. Meanwhile, the leadership in Japan proper, mainly industrialists and trading interests, desired more secure raw material sources and markets in which to sell finished goods. Since these areas were mainly in Java, Malaysia, Burma, Formosa and similar areas, this group desired a powerful navy. Naval proponents thus saw, not China, but the USA, Britain, France and the Netherlands as their primary enemies, since these nations controlled the extensive colonies in the areas Japan coveted. This situation was never resolved in Japan. The Chinese war went on. The navy got larger and ultimately confronted the various colonial powers noted above. The army never gave the navy the troops necessary to properly fight the war with the west. The Japanese homeland never gave the China based armies the resources necessary to finish the land war (and possibly enable it to confront the land based Soviet forces in Siberia). Likely the split in the Japanese system also created a delay in their ability to negotiate an end to fighting. Since Japan had lost its fleet, was isolated, starving and without oil or other resources - all by late 1944 - many leaders wanted to seek terms and surrender. However the China based army was still unbeaten and quite strong. They wanted the war to continue and could not sympathize with their Japan based comrades. Thus the war drug on for nearly another year - a year which saw many Japanese cities bombed and burned and nearly a million Japanese civilian killed. Given the obstacles it faced, this fractured Japanese system achieved remarkable results and conquered a vast empire. However it was inevitable that this empire would falter once the western powers organized their resources and tried to retake their lost empires.


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