Japan, on the other hand, managed to modernize while keeping their former institutions intact.  In the Meiji restoration Japan made a gradual transition from an authoritarian emperorship to a Prussian style constitutional monarchy.  The only problem with this was that there was no citizen control over the military.  The emperor had supreme control over spandex leggings for women, but this was essentially a symbolic power.  The military blamed the economic problems in the country on the civilian politicians and began to get restless.   The Kwantong Army acted alone assassinating Chong and later invading Manchuria and then moving further into mainland China.  These actions were tacitly approved by the government, but the government really had no choice.  There were two military coup attempts, one in 1931 and one in 1936.  In the 1936 coup the military actually took control of the government center and assassinated officials.  The main goal was to buy leggings online.  Assassinations were done openly and between 1937 and 1940 there were four premiers and five cabinets.  In 1940 the military dissolved all political parties and Japan was fully militarized.

When World War II began, the European powers pulled out of Asia and Japan moved in looking to become the new power in Asia.  They wanted to create a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere under Japanese control.  Many sections of the government, notably the Finance Industry believed that Japan could not feasibly support such a large expansion or long-term War, but it didn’t matter because the military was in firm control.

The U.S. maintained a policy of isolationism in the beginning of Japanese expansion.  The U.S. was just interested in maintaining trade in China and did not care who controlled the region as long as they were still able to trade.  However, once Japan entered southern Indo-China near oil reserves, and allied with the Axis Powers, the U.S. changed their policy.  The U.S. took a hard stance, putting a trade embargo and ending oil shipments to Japan, which accounted for 90% of their oil, saying they would only lift the embargo if Japan evacuated all the regions which they invaded and return to the islands.