Asked in JapanAsia
Why and how was Japan trying to build an empire in Asia and the Pacific?
March 27, 2015 12:59AM
First answer: Japan needed more resources and space for rapidly growing population.
Second correct answer: The first answer is a commonly cited reason for Japanese aggression & expansion in the 1930's & 1940's, however it is incorrect. The first answer echoes the false reasons that the Japanese Army leaders gave 75 years ago. In reality, there were more sinister reasons for the Japanese Empire building 75-80 years ago. The proof can be seen in today's world. Japan's current population today is larger than it was 80 years ago, and the Japanese Home Islands possess no more resources today than 80 years ago. So how is it that Japan today is so successful, peaceful & prosperous? The difference between the situation then and now is the attitude of the Japanese leadership. As early as 1931, the Japanese Army began to gain control of the Japanese government through assassination and intimidation of the civilian leaders. They embarked on a reckless obsession to brutally conquer China. They engaged in murder, raping, looting, beatings & burnings throughout the conquered territories. The earlier conquest & occupation of Korea was a precursor of things to come. This uncivilized behavior shocked the world & caused the new American President to take diplomatic & economic measures to attempt to discourage the Japanese aggression. Further, the Japanese occupation forces did little to build an economic, transportation & agricultural infrastructure to benefit the Japanese population. Instead they stole food from the Chinese & forced thousands of Chinese to work in Manchurian coal mines, and killed those that resisted. These policies mirrored those of ancient warring civilizations, not those of modern democratic & industrial nations. The Japanese Army was much more interested in forcing Korean & Chinese woman into an organized sex slavery for the Japanese Army than feeding & clothing its own civilian population.
As you can see, Japan today is a far better & different nation. It is time to give the Japanese today the credit of overcoming the significant obstacles to economic growth without war. It required the United States to defeat the Japanese military in a bloody war, and help establish a new kind of government. This new government, supported by the US, has allowed its people to engage in more peaceful pursuits of prosperity than stealing from the neighbors.