I like to do J1 so I can build minor ICs on FIC and Kwangtung on J2. I generally buy 3 transports on the first turn to get to the $ islands/transport troops to Asia. Build some inf art J3 in Asia if needed, then build mostly mech+tanks……so I can push into China/India. Sometimes I will build a 3rd minor IC on Malaya, but like Pain pointed out it can be problematic to keep up production on 3 minors in Asia.
Hong Kong and Malaya come with a naval base, and I like to have the option to build ships down there as Japan. If you also build a naval base for sz 36 (FIC) you have multiple places to build subs/dds that can hit say a US held Caroline’s, or invade Australia. Mid game its all cat and mouse, and as Japan those minors on the coast w/naval base help you build a better mouse trap.