The Empire of Japan was a militant nation pursuing aggressive expansion into China and Vietnam that provoked two wars in which Japanese armed forces routinely committed atrocities against civilian and military populations alike, culminating in a nuclear strike on Cairo in 2106 and the complete destruction of Hanoi during the occupation of Vietnam.
Condemned as an international pariah, Japan was at war with almost every country during its lifetime, its only permanent ally the short-lived Oceanic Empire. While Japan was nominally a constitutional monarchy, the conspiratorial prime minister Takeshi Ruchang spent his career wresting ever-greater political power, and by the outbreak of the civil war in 2106 the country had degenerated into a dysfunctional totalitarian state.
Invasion of ChinaEdit
Takeshi Ruchang of the Democratic Party of Japan served as Minister of Justice in 2095, became Prime Minister in 2098 and began an aggressive campaign to expand and modernize the Japanese army.
In the Summer of 2104, Japan launched a full-scale invasion of eastern China under the guise of a peacekeeping mission to combat a local warlord named Sun Ce. Following the conquest of Taiwan in Autumn, the Japanese military officer Toyotomi Hideyioshi was assigned to the ground forces as commander of Army Groups VI, VIII and IX, reorganized into Army Groups I, II and III of the "Imperial Mainland Japanese Army". He was promoted to Marshal shortly afterward. From its foothold in Zhejiang province, the army began an offensive along the coastline, occupying Shandong by 2105.
Invasion of VietnamEdit
In the Autumn of 2104 Japan expanded its operations into Vietnam after widespread human rights atrocities were brought to public attention. The initial assault was conducted with "shock-and-awe" tactics that obliterated local infrastructure. Monaco and the United Arab Republic denounced what they saw as opportunistic land grabs and colonial exploitation of Chinese and Vietnamese labour and resources, charging that Japanese intervention was motivated purely by profit and its strategy was worsening the situation.
Japan attempted to establish regional hegemony by founding the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, expanding on an alliance made with the Gangnam Republic earlier that summer. It courted Mongolia, the Malaccan Federation, the Indo-Persian Kingdom, and Sichuan, of which only Indo-Persia joined.
Gulf of Tonkin incidentEdit
Countries suspicious of Japanese designs on Vietnam established a UN-sanctioned peacekeeping mission to ensure further actions adhered to a humanitarian mandate. Forces were deployed to the country in the winter of 2104, establishing a safe zone around Ho Chi Minh City, but contact was lost with a convoy destined for Hanoi in the Gulf of Tonkin. Intelligence later came to light revealing the Imperial Japanese Navy was under standing orders to fire upon UN vessels, provoking widespread international condemnations and demands for an official inquiry. The Japanese government initially conceded to an independent inspection both of the incident and its continental activities, only to stall the organizational process. Exhausted by Tokyo's obstinacy, following the recovery of the HMS Rosemary in 2105 the General Assembly voted 8-1 to suspend Japan. Tokyo withdrew from the UN shortly thereafter.
Although Japan did not vote against Resolution 4, it subsequently attempted to revoke UNVIFOR and refused to cooperate with the mission. The result was a de facto partition of Vietnam between UN peacekeepers and the Japanese army. In an act of spite in 2105, it established a Vietnamese puppet state, although the government had no independent army and little actual power and was not recognized by the international community.
As international observers predicted, Japanese aggression served to galvanize local resistance, and surviving northern warlords united under the Council of Hanoi. Japan immediately declared the junta illegitimate and attempted to pre-empt UN operations by stating the army would engage any foreign forces it encountered. Incensed, the Platonic Republic withdrew from UNVIFOR to pursue a unilateral support mission to the Council, but the fleet was intercepted and utterly destroyed, leading to a hasty, non-punitive peace. Later that Spring, Irish aid workers were killed by Japanese forces in what was widely viewed as a deliberate attack; while Tokyo paid restitution to Dublin, the action led to a UN-sanctioned embargo later that year and the escalation of combat personnel to the mission.
On July 18, 2105, the Japanese army launched an amphibious assault on UN headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City, starting the Vietnam War. The attack triggered the collapse of the Co-Prosperity Sphere after Indo-Persia, who had committed forces to UNVIFOR, severed all relations and began mobilization, soon followed by Korea, which joined the war the following season. Shortly afterward, the People's Republic of Sichuan delivered the Zhengzhou Ultimatum demanding the withdrawal of Japanese forces from China, the rejection of which led Sichuan to declare war. Necessitated by Japan's declaration that it would engage in total war, the General Assembly amended the mission mandate to authorize the use of aggressive force against the Japanese.
Under the guise of national emergency, Ruchang suspended the constitution and instituted martial law. With Imperial assent he appointed himself Shogun, assuming complete control of the armed forces and personal command of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The IJN locked down the South China Sea as the Vietnam expedition launched a mass assault on the Northeast Region in a failed attempt to seize a secret nuclear stockpile before UN forces could remove it.
Greece rejoined the war in the winter of 2105 shortly after Rome recalled its UN contingent over its criticisms of the Allies' "slow" progress. In an attempt to relieve pressure on the main front and sever Japanese supply lines, both countries organized an amphibious assault on Taiwan. The campaign was intended to be commanded by Greek general Xylon Toto, but he was attacked during passage through the Suez Canal by Libyan separatists and hospitalized in Cairo, turning command over to Emperor Andreas, who had decided to lead the troops from the front. The invasion fleet came under early attack by the IJN, and the landing was an unmitigated disaster as Andreas was cut down in the first wave. The force quickly retreated but was intercepted again, resulting in the near-total destruction of both countries' armed forces and humiliating peace settlements the following year.
Following the death of Mayor Hannegan that winter, Texarkana adopted a regionalist foreign policy leading to an about-face on its international commitments. It abruptly withdrew from UNVIFOR, making white peace with Japan over what it claimed was a "mutual threat" posed by Greek involvement. The action was widely condemned by its former allies, and its subsequent defiance of Resolution 14 and withdrawal from the UN led to rapid deterioration of international face.
While state propaganda maintained the Japanese army was winning on all fronts, its only major victory was against the Greco-Roman landing at Taiwan. On all other fronts it entered into relative stalemate; by 2106 it had lost control of southern Vietnam and was expelled from its brief foothold in Tianjin.
Nuclear escalation and international denouncementEdit
Hinting at Japan's growing desperation, it began using both local civilians and prisoners of war for slave labour in construction of hasty defensive networks. It also deliberately infected both captured and killed enemy soldiers with biological agents, returning them to the front in a bid to stall the Allied advance as the army prepared to retreat from Vietnam to reinforce the foundering Chinese front. Having failed to produce a clear victory, Ruchang began to suffer a decline in popular support that intensified following a major earthquake in Tokyo in the summer of 2106. The government responded by arming right-wing militias to intimidate political opposition, leading to endemic bouts of nation-wide riots that typically ended with thousands of deaths apiece.
On 14 September, Japan launched a nuclear missile on the Egyptian capital city Cairo. This combined with the systematic destruction of Hanoi was the final straw for the international community, and the United Nations adopted Resolution 14 that indicted the Japanese government for widespread and wanton war crimes and crimes against humanity, declaring Japan a rogue state and officially sanctioning the Allied coalition to arrest the government and military leadership.
The Japanese were withdrawing en masse from Vietnam to reinforce the Chinese front. UN forces launched a mass push to Hanoi in a bid to catch the retreat as the Allied navy moved to intercept the convoy; while replenished Allied fleets were still unevenly-matched with the IJN, the Japanese had completely withdrawn their air support and the convoy was devastated by bombing runs.
Poison food crisis, decline and collapseEdit
Japan's crumbling war effort was compounded by a nationwide food poisoning in 2106. Despite positing itself as neutral, the Indonesian Republic had secretly conspired to undermine Japan through the sabotage of BulkProd exports, which led to the death of twenty million people within only a few weeks. Initially pinned on the Allies, the crisis enabled Ruchang to rally popular outrage and seize the offices of recently deceased civil servants. With Japan's domestic situation on the verge of collapse, the Allies attempted to broker an end to the war, calling for the government's capitulation and the surrender of Ruchang et al. to an international criminal court. Emboldened by international confusion surrounding the poison crisis and criticism of the terms of surrender, Japan refused to submit, deploying even more troops to the Chinese front.
That same season, Ruchang, 56, married Princess Sutematsu, 19-year-old granddaughter to the Emperor, establishing himself as a potential successor; Ruchang was declared Crown Prince. Japan also launched a new desperate offensive in China, but it was cut short by China’s defensive strategies. The Japanese large vehicles and their huge army attempted to move forwards, only to find cities that had been evacuated and turned into fortresses. The countryside was similarly transformed and Japanese advances were negligible. With Japan’s forces focused in Mainland China, Hainan was easily liberated by Chinese troops.
Fearing for their lives and/or out of disillusionment, Japanese citizens began a frantic emigration to Korea. The military's attempt to enforce order led to dockyard butchering. Fed up with government obstinacy in the face of decisive defeat, officers began to mutiny; in early winter Ruchang's brother General Takeshi Shiro led a rebellion that degenerated into civil war for control of the country. On 12 January 2107 Shiro executed Ruchang as the latter attempted to flee abroad, but was unable to stabilize the situation and later fled to the Philippines. Japan descended into anarchy, and the UN organized an emergency peacemaking mission that deployed to the country in the spring.
Japan was originally a constitutional monarchy under Emperor Iwao. After becoming Prime Minister in 2098, Takeshi Ruchang began an aggressive campaign to turn the government into his personal dictatorship. The invasions of China and Vietnam were intended to supply manpower and raw materials to bootstrap the Japanese economy, and thereby earn political capital. Under the emergency powers claimed during the Vietnam War, Ruchang's government turned expressly authoritarian, beginning brutal crackdowns on political dissent, targeting left-wing parties and pacifists specifically. Ruchang's consolidation of power led to a proportional erosion of civic tradition, and his appointment as Shogun in 2105. By the time Ruchang was declared Crown Prince in 2106, any sense of governmental stability had been eradicated by totalitarian despotism, and during the civil war all sense of statehood imploded altogether.
Japanese foreign relations were based on military power, as demonstrated by its policy in China and Japan. It aspired to become an Asiatic superpower and attempted to unite East Asia under the Co-Prosperity Sphere, but this ineffectual alliance collapsed after the outbreak of the Vietnam War. It was generally belligerent toward the international community, refusing to comply with United Nations resolutions, leading to its suspension and subsequent withdrawal in 2105. Aggressive chauvinism combined with a deplorable track record of human rights abuses both at home and abroad meant that by 2106 the country was an international pariah, maintaining relations only with the Indonesian Republic, Pan-American Union, its Vietnamese puppet, and the Oceanic Empire, a late ally that despite steadfast verbal support ultimately remained noncommittal.