Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact


SDHF Newsletter No.282 Japan’s Master Plan for Victory 5

By Moteki Hiromichi
Heart Publishers, Tokyo, 2018
Series No.5, Chapter 4: Why Japan Could Not Implement Master Plan

July 9, 2020

As I described in Chapter 3, had Japan adhered to the “the Master Plan,” Japan would have had a good chance of winning the war. I showed Churchill’s letter of April 15, 1942 addressed to Roosevelt in which he pointed out that the UK was facing a critical situation with Japan’s advance to Ceylon and India.
However, Japan took a very different course; starting with Pearl Harbor, followed by Midway, New Guinea, and Guadalcanal. The Pearl Harbor attack itself was a deviation from the Master Plan. But the dramatic success at Pearl Harbor spawned a “victory contagion”, which greatly affected not only the Navy but also the Army.
In February and March of 1942, a time when Phase 1 operations were proceeding smoothly, a heated debate was exchanged between Army and Navy staff officers concerning Phase 2 operations.
• The Army’s viewpoint: Bring about the downfall of England, which was the objective of operations in Western Asia. Use political strategy to achieve the surrender of China without outside help. Avoid launching major operations in outlying areas; instead, concentrate on strengthening occupied areas.
• The Navy’s viewpoint: Launch aggressive operations aimed at crushing the main strength of the US Navy and attacking the enemy’s advance bases. Attack Australia, an advance base.
On March 7, 1942, a liaison conference between Imperial General Headquarters and the Japanese government was held to adopt Phase 2 operation guidelines. The guidelines were a compromise between the Army and the Navy, but more along the lines of the Navy’s thinking. Consequently the Navy’s offensive operations in the Pacific were carried out. Both the Navy and the Army were bogged down at Guadalcanal.
Operations 5 and 11, key operations for victory, as Churchill so feared, were cancelled just before commencement.
I conclude that the basic reason for Japanese wartime failure was the split in supreme command authority between the Army and the Navy. In Japan, there was no overall commander of operations, but the Army and Navy chiefs of staff executed their respective operations anyway.
It is widely believed that the Emperor was a dictator, but this is not true at all. While the Emperor was the ultimate authority, he was not a director of operations, as Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and so on were.


MOTEKI Hiromichi, Acting Chairman
for KASE Hideaki, Chairman
Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact