hands of fate. The Japanese Government and the Imperial Headquarters thought that if Japan could occupy the South Pacific area of natural resources centred on the Dutch East Indies and could obtain these materials, particularly oil, then, relying on German victories as well, they should be able to prosecute a war with America, Britain and Holland which they would not necessarily lose.
The statistical details of Japanese war planning for oil supplies can be ob- tained by reference to my article entitled 'Japan's War Plans for World War II' included in the Institute of Military History in Japan's edition of 'The Interna- tional Review of Military History, 1978'.
Occupation and Independence
In the Second World War the Japanese war leadership was invested in a consultative organ of the Government and the Imperial Headquarters, the Joint Liaison Conference, which decided and implemented the policies. Because the most important reason for Japan's venture into war was the supply and demand relationship over strategic materials, especially oil, Japan's basic planning for conducting the war was set on maintaining these material supplies. On 12 No- vember 1941 the Liaison Conference decided on a 'Basic Plan for a Wartime Economy', which stated foremostly the need 'to secure resources and materials for national defense in the Great East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere and to be pre- pared for a rapid expansive development of our country's strength to prosecute war'.11 Following this, on 20 November, the Liaison Conference decided to es- tablish a military administration in the occupied areas in the Southern area,12 and subsequently on 26 November the Army and Navy Divisions of the Imperial Headquarters decided that under the military administration of the Dutch East Indies, which was the core for securing materials, the Army would take charge of Sumatra and Java, and the Navy would take charge of Dutch Borneo, the Cel- ebes, the Moluccan islands and the Lesser Sunda archipelago.13 In addition, im- mediately after the start of the war, the Liaison Conference on 12 December decided on the detailed essentials of the economic policies for the Southern areas occupation; the first objective was the procurement of resources, with the highest priority being given to the exploitation of the oil resources. 14
As argued above, the majority of the leaders who decided to undertake the war considered that this war was unavoidable in order for Japan's continued ex- istence as a state, and called the war one of 'self-preservation and self-defence'. However, some of the leaders held to the doctrine that Japan should lead and organise the Asians colonised by the Western Europeans, and called this 'the establishment of the New Order in Greater East Asia'. The Chief of the Naval General Staff, Admiral Nagano Osami, in despatching the Imperial orders to Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku, Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet, on 5 November 1941, telegraphed that 'for the sake of the self-preservation and self- defense of the Empire, the opening of hostilities with America, Britain and Hol-