On July 7, 1937 at almost the same time as Amelia Earhart should
have completed her flight around the world, the First Japanese Division
stationed in north China attacked the city of Wanping, thus launching
Japan's war with China. Five months later, on December 12th, the city of
Nanking fell. On the same day the U. S. gunboat Panay and three U. S.
oil tankers were sunk by Japanese bombers on the Yangtze River in China.
Emperor Hirohito was 124th in a succession uninterrupted since
the sixth century when, in the autumn of the 2,600 th year (1940) of the
founding of the Japanese Empire, Kinoaki Matsuo published a book on how
Japan planned to win a war with the United States. The war would not
formally begin for another thirteen months. The Three Power Alliance
And The United States Japanese War , written by this intelligence
officer when serving as liaison between the Japanese Foreign Office and
the Admiralty, openly discussed the impending hostilities. He wrote,
..." the United States will be obliged to exercise prudence and self-
restraint toward Japan at least until 1945."
" As soon as the great armament expansion is completed, the
United States will probably avail herself of the opportunity to declare
war upon Japan... then the chances of American victory will be far
greater than Japan's." He stated, "Japan is naturally blessed by double
defensive walls linked inside and outside by a chain of islands. The
inside link consists of the Pescadores Islands, Formosa, all islands to
the west and south, the Ogasawara Islands (Bonin), and the Chishima
Islands, all of which have already been strongly armed for defense."
"The outside link ( the Japanese Mandated Islands) extends many
thousands of nautical miles embracing the Marshalls, Carolines, Marianas
and Pelew (sic) islands, which are scattered like stars across the
routes of the United States Navy either perpendicularly or horizontally.
The total number of these islands is more than one thousand. It will be
impossible for the United States fleet to reach its destination...." Mr.
Matsuo continued, "The tragedy which will ensue as a result of the
failure of the United States fleet in its attempt to cross the Pacific
can be imagined by recalling the end of the Russian Baltic Fleet in the
Sea of Japan."
In the years prior to December 7, 1941 Japan constructed an ocean
fortress behind a wall of secrecy in violation of its diplomatic
agreement with the League. The mandated islands, including the Northern
Marianas,were forbidden territory to U.S. ships and American naval
authorities were becoming increasingly apprehensive over Japan's
rearmament and the growing belligerency of its military, first overtly
observed in the Panay incident .