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The Empire of Japan is a nation that has existed since the Meiji Restoration from the 3rd of January 1868. It is a nation in Eastern Asia, comprising of former areas of Japan, China, Indonesia, Korea, Indochina and even parts of Russian Siberia.
Japan had captured Manchukuo from China in 1932, and had been in an informal state of war in 1931 with the nation of China. The nation had begun multiple programs to amp up on its military to try to become the dominant power in the Pacific. This had caused a lot of tensions with the Soviets as well as the United States, both of whom viewed the Empire in a suspicious manner.
When the Yellowstone Eruption occurred in 1936, tremors could be felt in Japan. It did not take long for the Japanese government to piece together what had happened in America, and they realized they needed to take full advantage of the situation. Geological reports were also coming in by October that magma was building up in various volcanoes. The Japanese navy was quick to utilize the situation, and launched a pre-emptive strike of various American task forces in the Philippines and attacked Chinese ships off the coast of China in late October 1936. This would begin what would come to be known as the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Japanese Army invaded China (officially) following the commencing of hostilities, and used their navy to engage the various task forces present from the American navy, but only after first launching an invasion of China from the coasts to support the invasion from Manchuria. The American navy was not seen as much of a threat due to the fact they returned to America to try to save civilians and so the Philippines were lower on the invasion agenda, allowing the Japanese to focus on China. In a year, the Chinese coast had been conquered and Indonesia was supplying the Japanese war effort. However, the eruption of several volcanoes and the two tsunamis which had devastated Japan by late 1937 made the government realize that the majority of the Japanese people had to be evacuated to safer lands in Manchuria and Japanese China. As a result, the navy was drafted into a major evacuation operation and began to transport civilians to lands which had been cleared out for Japanese citizens.
The Chinese continued to fight on against the Japanese and the Communist-Nationalist alliance against the Japanese held steady and provided the army with multiple problems. The air force was ordered not to bomb cities due to the fact they would be needed to house the incoming Japanese citizens, and due to this - the land war turned more bloody and slower for the Japanese. By the end of the first year of the war, a large portion of China belonged to Japan. Japan then began to focus on transporting its citizens, and as a result the war effort slowed down.
Indochina was invaded on September 1st, 1938 through China. The war was swift and the French were not able to effectively hold back the Japanese invasion. The large numbers of the Japanese troops went onto overwhelm the defenders who reached an agreement with the Japanese, and helped end the war quickly. By the 8th, the Japanese had full control of Indochina. The stage was set, for the Pacific War.
By the end of 1938, Japan had managed to ferry across more than a third of its citizens, but volcanic activity became more violent. The Japanese also for the first time were severely affected by the cold and began to lose a lot of their crops. This brought about a sense of emergency in the Japanese High Command, who authorized the use of whatever means necessary to speed up the war. This lead to the deployment of multiple (untested) chemical weapons on the Chinese cities and the extensive bombing of many strongholds. As well as this, millions of Chinese men were drafted in and used as militiamen by the Japanese against the Alliance, which helped to weaken Chinese morale and speed up the war. Not only did this leave a large number of Chinese men dead, who could have otherwise helped fuel a rebellion, it also left many Chinese women without partners - something the Japanese would use to brutal effect after the war.
By this time, the coast and northern regions of China completely belonged to Japan, which saw fit to begin the next stage of its invasions, a shock invasion of the East Indies and Malay. However, they first needed to make sure the Chinese were sent completely packing - as an Alliance counter-attack had caught the Japanese off guard and had gained land rapidly. Indochina was used as a staging ground to launch an attack into the rear of the Chinese forces, destroying their flanks and sending them deeper into their own territory by the Japanese forces. Finally, on the 8th of November, 1938, Malay would be invaded by the Japanese, followed by attacks on merchant shipping and whatever British ships remained in the region to defend it. The Battle of Malay would be a relatively easy campaign, with troops stationed in the country - although fighting hard, out-gunned and out-manned by the Japanese. It would take two months for the Japanese to have Malay under the control of the Empire. The British could not afford to send troops or ships to defend their colony due to the fact that all ships had been needed for the evacuation of British citizens and only British merchant shipping was present in the region.
However, the war in China dragged on and more resources were needed not only for the war effort but also to help speed up the relocation of the Japanese people to around various cities in China and help reconstruct cities which have been completely destroyed due to the war. At the point in time, the Japanese began to use the Chinese as slaves and used them to reconstruct these cities as well as manufacture equipment for the Japanese war effort. The average lifespan of a Chinese worker was thought to be around three months before their death due to over-exhaustion, starvation and mistreatment.
By February of 1939, the Japanese were ready to take control of lands which could finally end their woes on oil. The East Indies had been the jewel in the Dutch Empire but the colony had begun to suffer multiple revolts and strikes following the failure of multiple crops and the sudden influx of arriving Dutch citizens. Civil strife was rampant and the colony was under the threat of collapsing. The Japanese took their chances and launched an invasion on the 15th. The invasion would prove to be a miscalculation on the part of the Japanese. Not only did the civil strife present in the nation suddenly stop, the colony came together to defend their lands from the Japanese. The defenders initially outnumbered the Japanese, who made slow progress in the first two months. However, the Japanese would begin to use minimally trained Chinese militiamen - which would be deployed in heavy regions of fighting and would be used to grind down the defenders. This so called human wave tactic proved very useful for the Japanese who were able to make significant progress in the next three months, capturing most of the nation.
Only the island of Java remained free of Japanese control. Although the island had been invaded in the early stages of the East Indies campaign, the island's defenders had fought back hard and had managed to keep the Japanese from expanding too fast. However, with the loss of all other defenders, the island was left on its own and with complete Japanese focus did not survive further than two more months. The East Indies campaign took some seven months for the Japanese to complete and it proved to be expensive in terms of manpower. However, now the Japanese finally had a secure oil base and could focus on other aspects of the war.
In the meanwhile, the American naval forces has also been evacuating their civilians from the west coast. They had been moving them to Hawaii and the Philippines. Many chose to stay in Hawaii rather than go to the Philippines as they viewed the islands safer than the Philippines. However, what they would not realise is Hawaii was of high strategic value to the Japanese, who prepared to strike out over the ocean and take out any threat the remaining American forces in the area proved to the Japanese plan of domination.
After launching more naval battleships, the Japanese were ready to strike at America. On the 7th of December, 1939 the Japanese forces launched a devastating naval attack on Hawaii, followed by an invasion of the main islands. The attack began with waves of fighter and dive bomber planes attacking the American navy present in the harbour and then moving on to attack the population centres of the islands. This was then followed by the arrival of the large naval taskforce which launched the land invasion of the islands. On Hawaii, resistance was stiff - but it was clear the Americans would not be able to hold off the Japanese. In a bold mission, the American naval ships took as many army personnel, their families and other civilians as they could and in the middle of the invasion, steamed seaward from the harbour - fighting their way out. 30% of American ships were lost in the breaking out battle, but due to the Japanese redirecting their ships for the invasion of the Philippines, their naval presence had been significantly less compared to their initial taskforce. The ships headed toward the Philippines.
However, the Japanese invaded the Philippines on the 9th of December, and destroyed any hope the Americans had of retreating to a safer nation to perhaps sue for peace. The American task force from Hawaii was forced to divert and head toward British controlled territories in Australia. The Japanese made good progress in Hawaii, completing the invasion of the islands in a mere two months. The Philippines proved to be much more difficult. Resistance was stiff, and naval superiority did nothing for Japanese ground forces which were having a hard time gaining land. The Japanese were able to exploit their air superiority, but the American/Filipino lines were put close to the Japanese lines. Although the Japanese continued bombing runs on American lines, they ended up killing large numbers of their own soldiers. By the first three months of the invasion, very little progress had been made, while the majority of people had been evacuated from the oncoming Japanese. The Japanese would have to fight tremendously hard to capture the city of Malina, which was left completely destroyed following the bloody and desperate fighting.
It would take the Japanese nearly ten months to clear out the Philippines of enemy occupation. A few million Filipino citizens would end up dead due to the intensive warfare, but most US citizens managed to get out of the nation safely. By the 6th of September 1940, the Japanese could finally declare victory in the Philippines. They began to weed out any resistance fighters and their families who were all killed in public displays of execution to spread fear into the citizens of the Philippines. They succeed and the resistance against the Japanese died out in the next two months. By November, the Japanese got to work - using Philipinos as labourers and the damage in the war was begun to be rebuilt - with an emphasis on the resources sector.
The British Arrive
Main article: Pacific War
The Brits nick the Yamato. Humiliation for Japan. Vows to avenge loss - ends up falling into a trap and gets into worst defeat in the whole war.
Shortly after the Pacific War, Japan established the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and its members was made up of puppet states and Japanese allies.
Japan's main major political party is the Taisei Yokusankai. Other significant political parties that have representation in the parliament are Sunrise Party, Green Wind, and New Komeito. Minor political parties are Democratic Party and the Liberal Democrats.
Communist political parties are banned fully.
Japan's main and official religions are Shinto and Buddhism. Taoism and Confucianism are also recognised as regional religions. Christianity is banned outright and any practitioners face fines and are sent to jail.
Japan is well known for its Anime and Manga. This also include the Touhou Project, made by Team Sendai Hakurei.
Japan has an extensive railway system, which is maintained by the government owned JR Group. The railway system in the nation is said to be the best in the world, connecting large sections of its empire effectively and allowing for the swift transportation of goods and military equipment, a bonus for the nation.
Passenger trains, such as the Shinkansen 700 and Shinkansen Komachi, are quite fast and reliable. Japan is home to some of the fastest trains in the world. It is one of only two nations on the planet employing the Maglev rail links in its nation, due to the need for high speed transportation in the empire.
List of Prefectures