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world. The only states in Asia to avoid colonisation were Japan and Thailand.

It can be argued that at the beginning of the twentieth century, when Japan had grown to be a world power after victories in the Sino-Japanese and Russo- Japanese Wars, the era of colonialism had already passed; it was the eve of a reaction, the era of nationalism and anti-colonialism. However, the Japanese did not appreciate this change of eras. The Japanese, following the Western Europe- ans, took the path of a colonial era world power.

The Japanese Government called the Pacific War (including the China In- cident) 'the Greater East Asia War'. In the sense that it was a war for the estab- lishment of the 'New East Asia Order', the Japanese Government led the Japa- nese people and enunciated this doctrine to the world. However, the leaders of a Japan, which had no reserve strength to provide the necessities of life such as food for the inhabitants of the occupied areas, were unable to make allowance for liberating South-East Asia from Western European colonialism. This can be demonstrated by the single fact that the Liaison Conference wanted to keep In- donesia as a Japanese colony.

In posterity historians might say that Japan's Pacific War made the biggest contribution to ending the world's colonial era. As has been explained in this paper, it is more correct to say that this was simply a result of the war, rather than the result of any such intention by Japan's leadership.


  • 1.

    George S. Kanahele's unpublished thesis, 'The Japanese Occupation of Indonesia: Prelude to Independence', 1967, translated into Japanese as 'Ni- hon Gunsei to Indoneshia Dokuritsu', Tokyo, 1977, pp. 35-58.

  • 2.

    Ibid., pp. 2-3.

  • 3.

    The original of the Imperial National Defence Policy is not extant, but the Military History Department of the National Defense College (Boei Ken- shusho Senshibu - hereafter cited as Senshibu Archives) contains a written copy made by Field-Marshal Yamagata Aritomo.

  • 4.

    Boei Kenshusho Senshishitsu, 'Daihonei Kaigunbu, Rengokantai(l): Kaisen Made (Navy Section of the Imperial Headquarters, The Combined Fleet before the Outbreak of the Pacific War),' Tokyo, 1975, pp. 297-99.


Kaigunsho Chosaka Shiryo (Materials of the Navy Ministry Research Sec- tion) held by the Institute of Oriental Studies, Daito Bunka University.


The Army and Navy's Annual Operation Plans for 1941 were approved in

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