A better National Objectives chart is all that's needed IMO.
I think it comes down to Japan getting better NO's to make it a good play to try for a Pacific VC victory.
Lets evaluate their NO's:
When Japan Is Not at War with the United States:
� 10 IPCs if Japan is not at war with the United States, has not attacked French Indo-China, and has not made an unprovoked declaration of war against United Kingdom/ANZAC. Theme: Strategic resource trade with the United States.Any early aggression against UK or Anzac brings the US into the war due to the provocation rules. This means Japan's best NO (for doing nothing) is given up the moment Japan makes up any aggressive move in the Pacific. To top it off, the US gets a nifty 60 IPC upgrade to all 3 of its IC's as well as enables every US NO for a big economic swing in the US' favor.
When Japan Is at War with the Western Allies:
� 5 IPCs if Axis powers control all of the following territories: Guam, Midway, Wake Island, Gilbert Islands, and Solomon Islands. Theme: Strategic outer defense perimeter.In order to obtain this NO, Japan needs to take and hold 5 Islands, which requires 5 TT and 5 Inf at a minimum. That is a 50 IPC investment of units to obtain this NO. In order to reclaim this investment of units, Japan would need to hold all 5 of these islands for 10 turns. The Allies need to only take a single island back to remove this NO and make the entire investment of units null and void.
� 5 IPCs per territory if an Axis power controls India (Calcutta), New South Wales (Sydney), Hawaiian Islands (Honolulu) and/or Western United States (San Francisco). Theme: Major Allied power centers.Realistically Japan can take and hold Calcutta to validate an investment of resources to obtain it. Sydney is a 2 turn move from the S.F. factory and is at least a 3 turn move from Tokyo. Hawaii is a single turn move from both Tokyo and S.F. which makes it difficult to first take, and even harder to hold as the only real threat with TT's stacked up comes from SZ6 (obvious what is happening) or in the Caroline Islands for a split threat at Anzac or Hawaii. Japan taking and holding W.USA is pretty unrealistic in anything but the wildest of games. In effect, this NO is only applicable in any strategic situation for Calcutta. The remaining locations are pretty unrealistic for any Japanese strategy. If anything, Japan should get 5 IPC per VC it holds once at war.
� 5 IPCs if Axis powers control all of the following territories: Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and Celebes. Theme: Strategic resource centers.This is the most realistic good value NO left to Japan once the war starts. Taking and holding these islands is realistic if Japan can cut India out of the picture. This is generally the play I think most Japanese strategy will be centered around with a potential for 20 or so IPC. However, this also requires holding every single island. The allies only have to take one of these out to remove this NO. A better option would be for Japan to get 2 IPC per island it controls that it did not start the game with.
In summation, these are my suggestions:
1. 10 IPCs if Japan is not at war with the United States, has not attacked French Indo-China, and has not made an unprovoked declaration of war against United Kingdom/ANZAC. Theme: Strategic resource trade with the United States.
2. Remove the Strategic Resource Center and Strategic Outer Defense perimeter NO's. Replace them with the following:
"2 IPCs for each island Japan controls that it did not originally control at the beginning of the game."
3. Expand the Major Allied Power Centers NO to include all VC's under Japanese control. Reduce the 5 IPC benefit to 3 IPC.
4. NO's 2 and 3 require Japan to be at war with USA, Anzac, and UK-India.
Some people may think this tilts the scales significantly in Japan's favor. However, Japan faces the US economy, the Chinese pestering, Anzac slowly growing, and India. It can possibly face an ignored Russian front as well. Japan's economy dwindles significantly the moment it goes to war with the Allies, and faces something in the range of 4-1 or 5-1 economic disadvantage. I think this actually balances the scales to something along the lines of 4-3 or 5-3, but still in the Allied favor.