Maps highlight war targets
CHAN YEE HON
Maps found by Hong Kong collectors show the Japanese army was prepared to launch attacks on American cities at least seven years before they bombed Pearl Harbour.
Without warning, Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbour in Hawaii in 1941, lifting the curtain on the Pacific War.
But the recently discovered maps showed the Japanese were targeting American cities, including San Francisco, as early as 1934.
The Sino-Japanese war began in 1937 when troops clashed at the Marco Polo Bridge on the outskirts of Beijing.
Chinese diplomats have pushed Tokyo hard on issuing an apology during President Jiang's visit for its wartime aggression similar to the one made by Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi to South Korean President Kim Dae-jung during the latter's visit to Japan last month.
Dr Tong Cheuk-man, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Collectors' Society, said the maps illustrating Japan's military strategic deployments in the Pacific showed the Japanese had the Americans in mind long before they invaded China.
'They aimed not only at attacking China, but also at striking the Americans on the other side of the ocean,' said Dr Tong.
The maps indicated with circles that - besides Asia - Alaska, America's West Coast and Hawaii were among targets. Small close-up maps of Honolulu, the Bay area of San Francisco and the Panama Canal were at the bottom.
Dr Tong, who would not reveal where the maps were found, said the canal was chosen apparently to block the US naval fleet on the East Coast from helping western cities.
There were tables giving detailed comparisons of the naval forces of Japan and the US.
Even a naval formation frequently used by the US was displayed in the middle of the map.