Why did Japan want to expand their empire in Asia? Please explain in short essay form.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First, please note that we cannot actually write essays for you here on eNotes.  Instead, we can give you information that can help you write your own essay. 

There are two main reasons why Japan wanted to expand their empire in Asia in the time before WWII. 

Reason 1: Resources.  Japan does not have that many resources on its own territory.  It is made up of islands that are fairly large, but are also very mountainous.  There is not much room for farming.  There are not many deposits of any important minerals.  There is no oil.  This meant that Japan had to rely on imports for things like iron and oil that a country needs in order to have a modern economy and a modern military.  Japan did not want to rely on imports.  It felt other countries could cut off those imports and strangle it.  Japanese leaders felt that an empire would help them because they could get various resources from the places they conquered instead of having to import them from independent foreign countries.

Reason 2: Prestige.  Japan wanted other countries (particularly the US and the main European powers) to admit that Japan was a world power.  They wanted to be important and to have everyone know they were important.  After all, Russia had an empire and they had defeated Russia in a war. They saw that every major power in the world had an empire.  This made them think that they needed their own empire.  They did not think that they would seem important if they did not have an empire.  By taking an empire, they felt, they would make everyone realize that they were a major power in the world.

These are the two main reasons why Japan wanted to expand their empire.  Take these facts and use them to write the body of your essay.  Be sure to add an introduction and conclusion.

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