Continuing The Greater Co Prosperity Sphere Through Oil Independence

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Continuing the Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere Through Oil Independence

1. Addressing the Problem:
Due to the Japanese presence in China during the late 1930s and early 1940s, the United States embargoed oil exports to Japan as a punishment for interfering with the open trade policy in China. This embargo was detrimental to the Japanese supply because Japan depended on the US for 80% of its imported oil. The Japanese also had no significant natural sources of oil in its possession. Therefore, the oil problem became a crisis as military demands quickly drained Japanese stockpiles. The Japanese needed to find oil to support its larger dream of establishing the Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere (GCPS).
The reference point of the Japanese decision
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Nonetheless, Japanese leadership overwhelmingly agreed that the first choice was incompatible with GCPS and was therefore not a choice to consider.
2. The Alternative Approach:
A more effective approach would have been to appease the Americans in the short-term, while additionally searching for and quickly mobilizing other sources of oil in order to reduce dependence on the US. This two-step approach would have been more effective in pursuing the Japanese’s GCPS because the short-term setback would have allowed for the long-term survival of Japan’s plan to become a regional great power. By taking the admittedly high-risk route of attacking Pearl Harbor, the Japanese significantly constricted the GCPS’s chances of survival. In order to obtain vital amounts of oil for the continuation of Japanese military power, appeasing the Americans by letting go of China for the time being would have allowed the GCPS to survive another day and to continue once the country had obtained its own independent source of oil.
a. Appeasing the Americans and Receiving Oil Diplomatically
The appeasement of the Americans would have been feasible with some flexibility and long-term thinking. Appeasement of the Americans would have required the Japanese to “abandon all, or at least half, of China,” according to Matsuoka Yosuke, an aggressive pro-expansionist advisor who was the leading advocate for the
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