Its been a year or so but IIRC Japan has very few land troops in this version, and already is holding a lot of the money it is going to have until turn 3 or 4. I played Japan 5 times and once you get your big monster fleet together, by J3 you have a real empire back together, but not India. Smart Allied play is to build in Persia and get some UK fighters over to india such that the less organized and powerful japan fleet and air fleet cant defeat india without going to the odds and losing a bunch of stuff. Uk pac has virtually no money, but UK atl does and its doesn’t have to worry as much about getting invaded by Germany since Germany is reorganizing during the early game.
I’ve lost a pile of Japan’s assets to a wimpy mock up army of allied stragglers in china, and lost SE asia to them before once all my original land guys died.
The middle of the map didn’t feel as open to the Axis as in other setups and editions, Japan doesn’t have tons of money to power factories to build mobile units, if you go that direction you cant build a robust fleet. Later in the game, its harder to get stuff into the action, so I only put a factories in Hong Kong… this is an AWESOME defensive base for Japan later in the game and you can lay 3 battleships right into your fleet in some cases, saving the day…
The USA can’t cross direct early (as G40), so they get diverted south, but the tournament game is about holding income–eventually there are 4 powers (france, uk, Anzac, usa) with 7-10 transports and ridiculous fighter cover. They had Java and traded borneo, phil etc. with me. Then, with Japan facing south against a monster fleet, they started to bring smaller fleets north to Russia, threatening Japan and its north.
So Japan does get rage in this edition, but its weaknesses are a harder road to india, and a more dynamic and confused money zone where the allies are taking and holding the Money Islands and threatening all your income. You have to build threat, you don’t start with crazy numbers of planes as G40.