New member on the forum, however I've been surfing around here for a few weeks and I'm gonna throw myself into the fray
I'm not saying "I know the perfect way" but would like to give you a few advices how to play a defensive ��� and what to think of when on a KJF hunt is coming.
What I first want to say is that our current group plays with no bids, no tech, no NA. Still have a few new players so bids are not needed (yet?).
I have a lot of games behind me, both old and revised.
A lot of this will contain "this gives this and that, all of it ofc changes depending on what the enemy buys/does" and I can't write all things that can happend and I won't, this will be a long post anyway
What I do as Japan is first of all, avoid pearl if england flies it's fighter there and you've lost the sub (I prefer pearl light), the 2 BB's are really needed when defending.
The key in my Japanese defensive is to build transports (3 first turn with a followup of INF+ART + ftr if I can afford since you only need to fill 3 Trn, the last one is down in the south taking inf from the southern islands).
Ofc you have to kill China...if you don't you ARE doomed, seen to many games with US pumping fighters/tanks in sinkiang.
So I prefer killing off the Brittish fleet and China, reinforce FIC from ��� and wait with Buy 1 turn (you get 3 TRN next turn that can massacre Buy)
Japan need to get going, but with a "slow-starter" you will get more troops (IC on mainland is a "fast starter") and you have time to react if they go all out KJF and adjust for defence instead of offense.
Now when US comes over the pacific there are a few very important things to remember.
1. If he goes for extra bomber+ftr he will be a monster in offense, however his defence is weaker.
2. If he goes for AC you must be prepared for a very strong US fleet and you must equid your carriers with ftr's.
Now the pacific is big, utilize SZ60 for naval defence if he goes wake island (to be able to use extra fighters) he won't go for east indies.
Use the fact ftr have 4 in movement (ftr on AC SZ60 has a range 3 inland, and therefore you can move that one in ashore while a fighter ashore also attacks and flies out to the AC. You still reach Yakut and China from Sz60 and ofc FIC, therefore 6 fighters can act both defence for SZ60 and land and still be attacking every round).
The bomber should be in Kwantung as much as possible, same here, it will be able to strike the importand islands and wake island seazone.
(remember this is a defending japan, and that is what you are doing on a KJF, because if japan grows outside Novo/China/india well...then you're not having a KJF).
What I want is the US fleet trading island in the southern pacific....why? because if the US moves his whole fleet to southern pacific he will be too far away to reinforce it from US and with 3 transports, 2 BB and 2 AC you can take 7 hits before even loosing attackpower (yes I mean you should sacrifice AC's when it comes to a naval clash everything is about sinking US BB's while keeping yours).
If he only uses TRN for taking you island, use ftr to sink the trn, 1TRN to retake the island with the help of a bomber from mainland.
A lot of people are obsessed with "taking IPC's" but trading a 3 IPC island 3 moves away from your factory while the enemy has 1 move....that is not a good thing to do, because japan can easily get more land troops. US cannot.
Japan only needs 1 transport to retake islands, US need loads of transports to threaten japan.
And after 1 switch you have 1 INF (hopefully 2) on the island and suddenly US must dedicate more than "just 1 TRN" to take the island.
The biggest problem comes to....when should you attack the US fleet?
that depends way to much on how the US fleet looks like, I prefer boxing Japan and if I feel too threatened I go 1 round of only making 1DD + 2 Sub
So to sum up:
Kill off the brits so you only have to worry about 1 fleet.
Gather up you BB's with extra TRN for superb defence.
Reinforce fleet with 1 ship / round if they are going KJF. (you can still afford 3-4 INF and 1-2 ART units to ship ashore)
If you are being reduced to 1 TRN, make that ship a TRN, if not build a sub, US really hates when he only has his trn+BB to choose what will die. If you feel rich make a DD
Japan will probably not grow, but that means that Germany can take Africa and more important put pressure on Rus. Important here is that I usually make a TRN buy for Baltic and then a DD on G2 to secure Baltic and simply hammer any brittish fleet trying to take Norway/WE, utilize your luftwaffe and you are secure.
(with 2 TRN in Baltic and 1 in Meditteranian sea you can send 6 INF/ART to the front each turn making a 4 INF 2 ART 4 ARM i very solid build for smashing Russia fast).
(When US goes pacific you simply sacrifice 1-2 planes to take out the american fleet if he tries going for africa).
I don't know how your US are doing the KJF, I'm really interested in the US1-2 Buy.
A smart american buys a strike force US1-2 and skip transports to simply eliminate the ��� fleet and THEN start invading with TRN.
However most players buy Transports + INF to have with them in the 1st attack....which means the US fleet ain't as strong as it could be. How does it look for you?