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Why did Japan want to expand their empire in Asia?

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Japan began to become more imperialist after it modernized in the mid- to late-1800s. The history of modern Japan begins in 1853, when the American naval commander Matthew Perry arrived in Japan and, a year later, forced the Japanese to open their ports.

Japan had formerly been isolationist, and the nation began to fear being overrun by the Americans and other westerners, as was happening to China. To prevent this fate, Japan began an imperialist policy and fought the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895, in which it acquired Korea as a tributary state (Japan later annexed Korea). Later, in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, Japan gained control over the Chinese territory of Manchuria, among other territories.

In addition, as the nation industrialized, Japan needed materials. A small island nation, Japan needed raw materials for its growing industries, including rubber and oil. Japan imported about 90% of its oil. When the US imposed an embargo on Japan in 1941, the Japanese decided to...

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