Look at it this way. If American interests are ever threatened, then the American government and military will act accordingly in a way to neutralize the threat. This is no different for any other country. Since Japanese expansion was threatened by the Americans placing an oil embargo on them, then the Japanese had a justified reason to neutralize the threat for their expansion, namely the US Military.
In addition, if American expansion through "manifest destiny" is "justified under God", then shouldn't Japanese expansion under the pretense of "Hakko Ichiu" be justified as well (Hakko Ichiu means "All corners of the world under one flag", but namely the conquest of the East Asian/Southeast Asian area).
If Americans had to eradicate the Native Americans and Mexican peoples from the land to achieve their "manifest destiny", then shouldn't Japan be vilanized for the eradication of the Chinese, Korea, Indonesian, and Southeast Asian peoples as well since they got in the way of their expansion under Hakko Ichiu?
Totally justified since Americans have eradicated other races to achieve their expansion. Tragic that American servicemen were killed, but looking at it from an impartial standpoint, the Japanese were justified in attacking Pearl Harbor.
Of course it was justified, they wanted to expand and the United States would've prevented them from doing so. Logically thing to do, cripple the United States. They believed that Pearl Harbour would be enough to damage the US fleet so much that they wouldn't be a naval power capable of stopping them.
On the No side, some arguments include: "no war was declared." Well I'm quite sorry that the Japanese didn't invite the US ambassador to tea to formally tell him that they were going to destroy Pearl Harbour. You kidding me?? They were going to sneak attack it, not declare formal war.
The US did nothing wrong. Poland didn't do anything wrong to Germany, but what happened?
The attack was "illegal." Tell me more about law enforcement during a world war.
Something that I would like to mention, most likely echoing those before me, is the following: Americans in general do not understand that there are different actions which are "acts of war." Something going on currently are the economic sanctions being put into effect against Iran. Now, maybe Iran deserves to have their economy ruined; I do not mean to make the argument that they do not deserve that. However, a direct attack against the economy of Iran is an act of war. Seizing foreign-flagged ships, blockading, embargoing, etc. Are all acts of war. Our own country (I am an American) was the victim of the seizure of ships and the impressment of our sailors by the British, an action which partly led to the War of 1812. America's current drone strikes against the Taliban/Al Qaeda in Pakistan are also acts of war against the Pakistani Government because they do not sanction these attacks. Again, I do not state that America is not justified; I do want to remind, again, that it is an act of war.
Now as far as Pearl Harbor is concerned, the Japanese were facing economic collapse in the near future as a result of the American Trade Embargo. By enacting this policy, the United States pushed Japan even further into the hands of individuals such as Tojo. However, by carrying out the attack on Pearl Harbor, it is my opinion that Japan made a terrible mistake, because it led to their eventual and complete surrender.
Think of it this way: what would the commentators on FoxNews and MSNBC say if Iran was launching drone strikes against the Westboro Baptist Church, while also preventing the United States from trading at all on the international market? There would be outrage and immediate calls for war, including a first-strike against Iran, followed up by an invasion.
The Japanese, who rely on foreign imports because of the fact that they're an island nation. The United States issued an embargo on Japan, and as a result the Japanese Empire was starving economically and literally, as the rice crop fizzled that year and Japanese civilians were starving to death. The strike Japan caused was not "cowardly," in fact Japan gave the United States a heads-up that the attack was going to happen 5 hours in advance. It was an attempt on Japan's part to try and get the United States to listen to their pleas for help, not a deliberate act of war. Japan didn't want to be involved in war with the U.S. and China at the same time. Based on the fact that Japan was running out of everything, and a famine the U.S. was turning a blind eye to, gave the Japanese justification to attack.
Due to Japan's attack on china, in 1941, the U.S.A. Had placed a trade embargo on Japan. This embargo had denied Japan of its vital raw materials, esp. The oil. Japan had only 2 years of oil supply left. So the Japanese needed to invade the south east asia countries to obtain the raw materials such as oil, rubber, tin.to continue its survival. Hence the attack on ph was necessary for the Japanese to attack the naval base to clear this obstacle on its way.
Some will say that nothing in the world that was happening would be able to justify this outright attack. I say that anyone can start the timeline of events anywhere. This was justified because the US was part of the Triple Intervention which made the Japanese give all of the land that they took from China back to China. The US had also been forcing them to trade with them. I am a ninth grader in high school in New Hampshire. I want everyone to realize that just because you are from the country being attacked doesn't mean that you have to say that it was not justified. Depending on where you want to start the timeline of events, any attack could be justified. Thank you for taking the time to consider this point.
I certainly don't think that what Japan did was right, but as said in other comments is that Japan was cut off, they had no supplies, therefore they were up against the wall, they couldn't just do nothing. They also bombed the harbor because America's naval defense was it's strength, Japan was looking for a way to weaken America, therefore weaken the Allied powers since America was helping them with supplies. Furthermore why in the world did America feel like they needed to "help" China? After all America did to them over the years like discrimination. Japan believed that they were helping because they thought that their leadership was really good, and wanted to unite some of the Asian countries and rule over them. Not saying this is right, but this was between Japan and China, then America came and cut Japan off from supplies and were helping the enemy, why would America not consider themselves a target?
The Japanese had been left in a tough predicament by the US oil embargo of 1941. Japan was left with only 2 choices, invade the dutch east indies and start a fight with the US, or bomb the US and hope that they wouldn't return fire. The Japanese government made a choice, and although it might not have been the best choice, it was justifiable.
In the context of war, the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor is clearly justified on a strategic level. They wanted to cripple the U.S. Navy, so that it could not interfere with their Pacific conquests. And, with the majority of that force stationed in Pearl Harbor, it was an obvious target.
The reason that the US stopped providing money, oil, metals, etc. to Japan was that Japan was invading China. Murdering and raping hundreds of thousands of innocent people for no reason other than they wanted to. Japan was becoming an evil power, so the US took a logical, diplomatic, non-violent threat and ended support to Japan so that they could hinder there efforts to invade and ruthlessly kill Chinese and other Pacific Islanders. The US took no violent moves towards Japan and all the moves it did make were completely justified. So does Japan see the error of its ways? Do they try to work out a deal with the US so that they can get continued support in return for ending aggression? No. Instead they made a completely unjustified attack on US troops stationed in Hawaii
Japan attacked Pearl Harbor to cripple the American naval fleet so it would not interfere with Japan's goal of expanding their control of the Pacific. Japan did not declare war before the attack. Japan was still negotiating with the Americans to avoid war. Japan was bent on pursuing an expansion of their empire at the expense of other peoples in the Pacific area. The Americans were enraged at the duplicity and rightly so.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was completely unjustified. At the time of the attack, the United States and Japan were at peace, as no war had been declared by either side. The Japanese had given no ultimatums to the United States. It was simply a sneak attack. Furthermore, even from a Japanese militarist perspective, the attack was not justified, as it diverted valuable forces from their ongoing wars in the Pacific, and brought another very powerful foe into the war against them.
It wasn't justified. Why? America was simply trying to help China by stopping trade with Japan. It was a non-violent way to stop Japan from conquering the Pacific. Therefore, Japan had no right to bomb the USA. Just because Americans stop giving Japan supplies, doesn't mean the Japanese can bomb and rape thousands of innocent people. This is why the attack is unjustified.
It was true, America was the aggressor, stopping import of money and oil to Japan, and telling its allies not to either, just because Japan was invading China. But think about this analogy:Japan, China,and USA are kindergarteners, and USA gives Japan graham crackers. Then Japan bullies China, USA's friend, and USA doesn't give Japan graham crackers anymore, and tells his friends not to either. This is fair for USA to do. After that, Japan gets angry and starts bullying USA. This is not justified.
Also, Japan claimed to their bomber pilots that they were bombing USA because US was a mix of races, an the attack would split the races up and keep their loyalty from US. However, Japan's real reason for the attack was in revenge of USA not giving them oil, or in the analogy, "graham crackers".
The U.S. needed to make a very strong statement to not only Japan, but the rest of the world. There was a World War going on, for goodness sake. Japan attacked our country with a bang, and bringing a knife to a gunfight wasn't a very well thought out plan on Japan's part. America "banged" back, in an effort to let the Japanese and the rest of the world know exactly what it meant to take on America. The statement we made was clear and concise. Unlike Japan's decision, the decision made by the U.S. may have been hasty but, contrary to Japan, it was well thought out and extremely effective. Our message was heard by the entire world, including our enemies and, perhaps, more importantly, our potential enemies.
Im not saying just because im from America that it wasn't justified. I'm saying it wasn't justified because America stopped trade with Japan because it didn't wan japan to invade China. I believe that is justified. So after attempting to settle it they couldn't and Japan attacked. America had a reason for stopping trade with Japan and the only reason Japan attacked is because they wanted to take oil from another country and they thought America would get in their way. How is that Justified?