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In February 1942, Japanese Admiral Yamamoto, who had planned the successful attack on Pearl Harbor, proposed an immediate invasion of Australia. He had just implemented his bombing raids on Darwin in the Northern Territory. He pleaded with the Japanese General Staff, to land two Japanese Army Divisions on the northern coastline of Australia which was very poorly defended. They were to follow the north-south railway line to Adelaide, thus dividing Australia into two fronts. Once Adelaide had been taken, a second force would land on the south east coast of Australia and drive northwards to Sydney and southwards to Melbourne.

Yamamoto's plan appeared to be a diversionary invasion plan rather than a plan to occupy Australia. He wanted to draw large American forces away from launching attacks on the Japanese Island chain far to the north of Australia.

General Yamashita agreed with Yamamoto's Invasion Plan and even volunteered to lead the invasion. However, the plan was opposed by Japanese Prime Minister, General Tojo, as he believed that there were no contingency plans considered for Yamamoto's Invasion Plan. General Tojo was concerned that the Japanese merchant fleet was extended to its limit and the Americans could readily divert their B-17 Flying Fortresses to Sydney to destroy the invading forces.

Emperor Hirohito decided to postpone the Invasion Plan until Japanese forces had taken Burma and joined forces with the rebel Indian Nationalists. The outcomes of the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway ensured the Invasion Plan for Australia was never revisited. 



"Toku Tai - Japanese Submarine Operations in Australian Waters"
By Lew Lind


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This page first produced 26 January 2004

This page last updated 26 January 2004