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Old 02-03-2012, 10:13 PM   #1
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Default [IW] Still Militarized Japan in the 21st Century

I've got an idea for some PCs in OTL Japan whose train gets misrouted to a timeline where Japan is still militarized. I don't mean an alternate where Japan won WWII but one where they lost but did not get occupied and have their society transformed the way they did in OTL.

Are there any canonical IW timelines like that?

My thoughts on how things look different in day to day life in Japan:

There are pictures of the Emperor everywhere. Foreign culture influences are much less visible. Many more people are wearing uniforms or clothes that might as well be uniforms.

English does not have the trendy coolness it has in OTL, and is rarely used in advertisements and popular culture.

Movies and TV are censored by the government, and tend towards the xenophobic.

Other ideas?
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: [IW] Still Militarized Japan in the 21st Century

The historical background is secondary to my interest here, but since you need something:

POD sometime in the 1930s or early 1940s. WWII in the Pacific differs in detail but is similar overall. Japan has great success early on but is eventually ground down by the industrial mismatch vs the US, just more slowly than in OTL.

A negotiated settlement leaves Japan still holding Korea and Formosa (Taiwan), but giving up Manchuria and all other territory in China, and all other conquests.

(The war in Europe went roughly the same as in OTL.)

The Emperor remains divine. The Army and Navy remain respectable, powerful, and prestigious. No nuclear weapons were used in WWII, and Japan is one of the major nuclear-armed powers.

The Imperial Army has to keep the Koreans in line and defend against a possible Chinese invasion. The Imperial Navy has to prevent a Chinese invasion of Formosa and face off against the US Navy that beat it last time.

Both want to redeem themselves by winning a new war, but have never gotten to the point where they think they can. They keep working on it, though.

With Japan still to worry about, the US supported the Nationalist Chinese government more strongly and it defeated the Communists. The US and China are allies in their mutual distrust of Japan, and Japan has ended up allied with the USSR out of strategic necessity.

Japan has developed a lot of high tech manufacturing to support these military ambitions, and has developed extensive foreign trade as a necessity to support this. So in these areas it is similar to OTL Japan.
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: [IW] Still Militarized Japan in the 21st Century

Since airship are obligatory in alternates, how about this. The IJN developed effective high-altitude reconnaissance zeppelins. No other power did so successfully.

The reconnaissance advantage is of great help in the naval war. But they are not enough to overcome the industrial imbalance, especially once the Allies develop their own zeppelins and anti-zeppelin weapons and tactics.
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: [IW] Still Militarized Japan in the 21st Century

If this happened, we might see a Japan war, instead of a korean war.

Would japan go commie and team with the soviet union at some point in time ? Edit: derp

Idk, its beyond my reach, still think the US would have invaded before Japan ever had the chance to ally.
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: [IW] Still Militarized Japan in the 21st Century

What I would do in order to have Japan still militarized would be that following world war 1 and the great depression the Navy and Army in Washington decided to make a bit of a power play together and managed to put together a strong enough lobby group to effectively disband the marine corp and their budget as a cost saving measure in these troubled economic times.

By the time World War 2 rolls around Japans plan of rapidly taking a great of island territory and then digging in works much better in the home line time line as U.S. forces without the marine corps experience find amphibious warfare a much more expensive and bloody experience than they did in our time.
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:46 AM   #6
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Default Re: [IW] Still Militarized Japan in the 21st Century

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Originally Posted by Nosforontu View Post
What I would do in order to have Japan still militarized would be that following world war 1 and the great depression the Navy and Army in Washington decided to make a bit of a power play together and managed to put together a strong enough lobby group to effectively disband the marine corp and their budget as a cost saving measure in these troubled economic times.

By the time World War 2 rolls around Japans plan of rapidly taking a great of island territory and then digging in works much better in the home line time line as U.S. forces without the marine corps experience find amphibious warfare a much more expensive and bloody experience than they did in our time.
Seems too stratetic to vote away on budget on that period of time, but oh well, you never know.

Seems easier if some other conflict took place and shaped the situation even more, what if WWI didnt happen when it did, but after the natural collapse of the austro hungarian empire, with germany and russias war over its remains escalating as the great powers seeks tip the scales to their favor.

If germany was not agressive towards the french, securing american help later to twart the germans would be much harder, and maybe some bizarre set of circumstances led europe to be in a different situation in WWII, a tri polar war happened, and maybe japan had a great campaign but got ultimately defeated by facing a larger war machine, but secured a greater position in the long term.

The butterflyes became too much =p cant even imagine how the world might align by WWII
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:50 AM   #7
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Default Re: [IW] Still Militarized Japan in the 21st Century

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Originally Posted by Nosforontu View Post
What I would do in order to have Japan still militarized would be that following world war 1 and the great depression the Navy and Army in Washington decided to make a bit of a power play together and managed to put together a strong enough lobby group to effectively disband the marine corp and their budget as a cost saving measure in these troubled economic times.

By the time World War 2 rolls around Japans plan of rapidly taking a great of island territory and then digging in works much better in the home line time line as U.S. forces without the marine corps experience find amphibious warfare a much more expensive and bloody experience than they did in our time.
Did the Marines have all that much experience anyway? The easiest way is just to have the Americans not decide that only unconditional surrender is acceptable.
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Old 02-04-2012, 01:04 AM   #8
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Default Re: [IW] Still Militarized Japan in the 21st Century

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Did the Marines have all that much experience anyway? The easiest way is just to have the Americans not decide that only unconditional surrender is acceptable.
While the Marines did good work, the vast majority of the ground fighting in the PTO was done by US Army forces. And after the Normandy invasion, the experience was there for massive beachhead invasion forces....experience further refined by the conflict in the Pacific.

Given the Japanese 'culture' during (and just before) WW2, the only way the US would let Japan stay intact (remember, in the OTL, the US was prepared to proceed with a conventional invasion that was estimated to result in at least one million US soldiers dead, with Japan basically ceasing to exist as a nation.....) would be either Japan developing atomic weapons virtually at the same time as the US, or (more believable, given real history), Japan developed a bioweapon and threatened to use it on the US if the US continued to attack.

I would amend your history to say that Hiroshima and Nagasaki got bombed on schedule....and then Japan released a bioplague that completely depopulated the Hawaian Islands, along with most of China/Mongolia.

Fast forward to Now....and you have your Imperial Japan, a quarantined Hawaii, and a new Cold War. The US has an atomic arsenal, while Japan has a biological one.......and has re-colonized most of China, as well.
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Old 02-04-2012, 01:15 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Apache View Post
W

Given the Japanese 'culture' during (and just before) WW2, the only way the US would let Japan stay intact (remember, in the OTL,
It's not a question of Japanese culture, and there's no good reason to put that word in scare quotes. It's a question of American culture. The Japanese would have certainly been willing, late in the war to negotiate a withdrawl from China and their conquests during the war in return for an end to the war. The problem is convincingly getting the Americans to offer such a deal. I'd go with whacking FDR and leaving Garner, Wallace or Wilkie in charge and just having them wuss out.
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Old 02-04-2012, 01:24 AM   #10
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Default Re: [IW] Still Militarized Japan in the 21st Century

Without ready access to oil, and heavily reliant on shipping for its economy, the Japanese navy is likely to embrace fission plants even more than the US Navy, possibly down to ships as small as destroyers.

On the same tack, lacking the US as an ally, expect Japan to be heavily involved in global oil politics. The USSR may be of importance here - indexmundi.com suggests that Russian oil exports and Japanese oil imports are very roughly equivalent, so an alliance there could work well economically. The Japanese are likely to hedge their bets by courting the Saudis and Iran as a counterweight, to limit Soviet leverage on their economy.

The biggest difference within Japanese society would probably be the continued inclusion of Korea within the empire. In the late 20th century, issues of Korean self-determination, cultural expression, and civil rights may roughly mirror the Irish experience in the UK in the early 20th century, South Africa, or the US civil rights movement of the 1960s. (As a GM, I'd be tempted to have Seoul 1968 be as resonant there, as the year was for Paris and Chicago.)
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