In his Counterpoint column titled “Memories of Mukden Incident remain divisive” in the Sept. 18 edition, Jeff Kingston claims that Japan’s drive into Southeast Asia in 1941 was initiated “in order to secure resources needed to vanquish China.” This is a curious interpretation for the expansion of the war.

By the time of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese had long since ceased to believe that China could be militarily subdued. The aim of Japan was an anti-communist accord with the dictator Chiang Kai-shek in which Japan would enjoy a position of pre-eminence among the resident imperial powers. Japan was being stymied in this goal by U.S. support for Chiang in the form of finance, advisers, recognition and materiel.

A primary aim of the 1941 advance was to sever the link between the U.S. and Chiang, thereby forcing him to the negotiating table. The resources of Southeast Asia were needed to block U.S. attempts to prevent this from happening, not to engage in further attacks upon a landmass too populous and expansive for the Japanese Army to ever militarily suppress.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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