China is an endless money pit. Japan cannot hold China and the oil islands, etc. Push them as far back as one can early before war then they will rapidly begin building again anywhere they wish. Japan cannot planes in China forever.
Nah, they’re not so bad. And if you leave China alone they make WAY too much money and can steal a lot of Japan’s (easily 10 ipcs or so). After a strong J1, starting J2 you reinforce the mainland with 2 inf/2 art at Kwangsi brought from Japan (so they can attack Yunnan on J3) and every turn you build 3 mechs or tanks from the mIC you build in Shantung (I start with mechs but as I move more of my planes to Japan or Philippines, I buy more tanks). Sometimes the guys from the mIC in French Indo china have to help if UKPac or Russia goes all in to save China, too, but as Japan I’m earning 60+ ipcs on J3 and later and buy a carrier every round J2+ for a bit with any leftover money after mainland troops because you’ve got plenty of planes to protect them. Most of original fleet goes south, new stuff helps you keep SZ6.
typical for me, depending on U.S. and Russian actions is the bulk of the original Japanese fleet goes to
J1 Borneo, Hong Kong, Philippines (buy mIC and 2 transports, collect about 40 ipc)
J2 rest of money islands (buy mIC, 3 mechs, 1 carrier, collect about 55 ipc)
J3 Malaya (buy 2 inf/1 art for FiC, 3 mechs for Shantung, 1 carrier, 1 plane, collect about 60 ipc)
J4 fleet back to Philippines (buy inf/art for FiC, 3 tanks for Shantung, buy subs and or planes for SZ 6, collect 60+ ipc)
This keeps the original 3 transports alive (on J2 is the hardest), 2 subs go convoy UKPac (which I bomb J2), and SZ 6 is usually just a destroyer and 1 carrier on J1 and by J4 I’m up to 3 or 4 carriers, 9 planes, 1 destroyer and on J4 I’ll buy a bunch of subs so I can absorb hits or join my Philippines fleet in destroying the U.S. fleet.
As for all those land troops, once you’ve got 2 mICs in place its easy enough to close the Burma road J3 or J4 for good (or annihilate UKPac’s army if they help China) and once you’ve got a few fast movers you can even invade Russia to gobble up with IPCs (J4 or later for me) and China is down to 5 ipcs or less a turn you turn all your attention to India.