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Countries Japan invaded in World War II

Solomon Islands

Countries Japan invaded in World War II

What countries did Japan invade during the World War II?

On December 8, 1941, the United States government declared war on Japan and entered World War II. Japanese troops landed in French Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia), the Philippines, and British Singapore. By April 1942, Japanese forces had occupied the Philippines, Indochina, and Singapore.

Following are the areas that Japanese forces militarily invaded and occupied during World War II.

・Almost all the coastal areas of the Republic of China

・U.S. territories in the Philippines

・British Hong Kong

・British North Borneo (now part of Malaysia)

・British Protectorate of Sarawak (now  part of Malaysia)

・British Malaya (now Malaysia and Singapore)

・Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia)

・British Burma (now Myanmar)

・U.S. territory islands in the Western Pacific (Guam, Wake Island, etc.)

・Australian territory of Papua (now Papua New Guinea)

・British West Pacific islands (Solomon Islands, Gilbert Islands, Ellice Islands, etc.)

・Part of the Aleutian Islands, Alaska Territory, U.S.A. (Atka Island, Kiska Island)

Except for the coastal area of China, all regions and countries that Japan invaded during World War II were originally occupied or colonized by European countries or by the United States. Some states in Asia have never been colonized by any European countries, the U.S., or Japan. Thailand is a well-known example of a country that has never been invaded during its history. China was, and still is, a huge nation, and only the coastal area was invaded during World War II, while the area known as Manchuria had been colonized by the Japanese Empire before World War II began.

  • Japanese military aggression was all over the Pacific. None of these areas that were invaded during World War II are presently occupied by Japan. There are also some regions that Japan occupied before World War II. Palau was originally a part of Germany’s colonial empire, then was ruled by Japan in the 1920s.
  • In the Asian countries that the Japanese military occupied, the Japanese language was forced upon the local people. The purpose was to instill a sense of being a Japanese citizen.
  • The fact that Japan could not accept the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. was not a sufficient reason to start a war against the U.S. Therefore, Japan raised the slogan of “Liberation of Asia” and called the conflict the “Greater East Asia War” when it started the war against the U.S. Although Japan had called for the “liberation of Asia” during the war with the U.S., it had attacked the Asians even before that. Japan was doing the exact opposite of “liberating Asia” when it started the war against the U.S. The war was launched under the guise of a “holy war” and the “liberation of colonies in Asia.” However, in reality, it was a war of aggression aimed at breaking the deadlocked Sino-Japanese War and controlling Southeast Asia, where oil, iron ore, and other important resources were located.
  • After losing the war, Japan was forced to withdraw its soldiers from the occupied territories. It also lost the colonies it had acquired since the Sino-Japanese War. In addition, Okinawa, the Ogasawara Islands, and the Amami Islands were placed under U.S. control, and the Northern Territories were placed under Soviet control.

Countries Japan invaded before World War II

Following are the countries and regions that Japan invaded before World War II.

  • Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Manchuria, China

The Pacific islands formerly colonized by Germany, such as the Bismarck, Mariana, Marshall, and Palau Islands, became Japan’s colonies as a result of a treaty signed after World War I. Japan acquired these colonies without “invading” them.