Japanese Expansion in WWII

As I understand it, the Japanese Imperial Army had expanded as far south as New Guinea during the early days of WWII, before they were repulsed by the Allies.

Given the proximity of New Guinea to Australia, do we know if Japan had designs of attacking and then occupying Australia, or did they realize, given the distance from Japan, that taking and then holding Australia would be difficult if not impossible?

Hope this helps.

The Japanese launched something like 100 raids on Australia during WW2, more than half of them against the city and military base at Darwin. It’s highly unlikely the Japanese would have wanted the entire continent, but Darwin was strategically located and relatively isolated. It’s possible the Japanese felt that if they could take Darwin, they could hold it.

In that regard it wouldn’t be very different from the Japanese capturing Attu in the Aleutians, which they managed to hold for nearly a year.

Just to expound from your link:

That’s fully 1/3 of the entire Japanese merchant fleet, which was sorely pressed trying to bring raw materials back to Japan and supplies to bases as it was. There just was not enough merchant shipping to go around.

The Axis Forums have great What IF sections that have dealt with this question.

Australia was just too far and too empty for much. The Japanese only were in the DEI for the oil. There was nothing they really wanted there except that. Australia was tiny in terms of population. Only Melbourne and Sydney were worth anything really. There was a few “lines of defense” drawn up by Australia. Usually from Brisbane to Adelaide and everything south of that. Though there were more plans than just that.

It was the same thing for Japan and Siberia. They had no use to go where there was nothing they could use ASAP. Sure Siberia was rich in resources but getting them out would’ve been hard enough during peace, it would’ve been a nightmare during war. The Japanese were still developing Hokkaido in the 30s and very slowly expanding to South Sahkalin

But attacking Aussie was not out of the question as one of the war aims seems to have been grab as much as possible as fast as possible and then negotiate peace with the Allies once they were tired from fighting Germany.

Australia had a lot but it was far, the urban areas were sparse, the means of transporting resources, like roads and railroads were easily subject to sabotage (If you have one railroad line going out west, it’s easy to cut it, rendering it useless for the invaders)

Any resources they could get from Australia they could get elsewhere where they were already fighting or in control. So while invading Australia would have shock value it wouldn’t be much help.

My Father was in New Guinea and Australia. He said there were plans to evacuate half of Australia.