Why did Japan choose to attack the US when it did?
The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7,
The Japanese attacked the US for two reasons:
1. the US was a growing Pacific Power, meaning it was gaining
more and more influence and land in the Pacific, which threatened
Japan and it's imperialistic ego. The Japanese wanted to establish
an empire over all of Asia and the Pacific.
2. the US cut off all trade to Japan because of Japan's rising
aggression. These American items were crucial to Japan.
Also, the attack on Pearl Harbor was not for the Japanese to
gain Hawaii or to declare war on the US. The attack on Pearl Harbor
was a message from Japan to the US saying "this is as far as you're
allowed to go". Meaning, this was the farthest extent of the
Pacific that the Japanese would peacefully let the US expand, as
the Pacific was to be left for Japan. However, the US did not like
this and then declared war, entering World War II. They were
eventually able to make Japan surrender in 1945.
At this point, item No. 2 does not lend itself to providing a
motive for attacking Pearl Harbor. If item No. 2 was correct then
not only would these "items" of trade never get to Japan, it would
only give Japan another "headache" even as much as it would seem
the Pacific Ocean afforded Japan any protection. Of course, it was
a "given" that the Philippines would be lost to Japan.