FEPOW Memorial Church

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Historical Introduction

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Japanese Empire
Military Campaigns

From the Meiji Restoration, Japan began to seek a new position in the world as it began the process of modernisation. Its severe shortages of essential raw materials for development in a modern world began a process of confrontation with Western Powers that would result in the opening of the Far Eastern Fronts of World War II.

The military faction, buoyed by earlier military successes believed the rapid conquest of new territory would not provoke an effective response from Western Interests. General Yamamoto, who masterminded Japanese naval strategy at the beginning of hostilities was aware of the importance of speed and the difficulty that Japan would have in waging aggressive war after the first two years of such conflict. Surprise and rapid advance were the only possibility of success together with the hope that the US would not intervene once Japan had established its new geographical power base. Yamamoto's fears were to prove prophetic.