This article analyzes the competition of naval power between the U.S. and Japan before the outbreak of the Pacific War in the early 20th century. Japan, which emerged as a new maritime power in Asia in the early 20th century, began to seek hegemony in the Pacific region, whereas the United States, which sought to maintain the status quo in the Pacific region, recognized Japan's move as a challenge to the United States.
The U.S.-Japan competition, which took place in the Pacific region, developed into a naval superiority competition, and eventually the Pacific War broke out in 1941. The naval power competition between the two countries raised the question of how to operate naval forces in Asia-Pacific, which developed into a maritime strategy competition between Japan's “interception-attrition strategy” and the U.S. war plan “Orange” ➜ war plan “Rainbow" against Japan.
After the end of World War I, Japan became the first Asian maritime power and advanced to the South Pacific ocean. Japan joined the Washington regime in 1922, but considered the U.S. as the first virtual enemy and continued to build submarines, landing ships, and auxiliary ships which were exceptional maritime arsenals from the treaty. After terminating from the Treaty of Washington in 1936, Japan continued to strengthen its naval capabilities and developing a maritime strategy(interception-attrition strategy).
Meanwhile, the U.S. began to recognize Japan as an official potential enemy in the 20th century, and developed an orange plan against Japan. The real perception of Japan's threat came as Japan's withdraw from Washington Treaty(1936). In 1938, the U.S. began building up its naval capabilities through the Vinson-Tramel Act to enhance its naval power, and responded to Japan's naval capabilities. The U.S. won over Japan in the maritime strategic level.