I think no one would deny that the discovery of oilfield in Manchuria would increase its importance. My way of thinking is, that this in turn would fuel the Japanese military's already unhealthy paranoia against the Chinese threats. The Chinese in turn, with oil found, surely would double down their revanchism. In this condition, some sort of war hysteria is bound to happen, which is likely to cause local clashes that could develop into a war, just like real history. Tokyo might try to avoid war, but unless they succeed in disciplining local troops, their efforts would be in vain.One hundred percent agreed. Which is what I’ve been trying to argue for most of this thread. Yet several times you seem to be arguing the costs of war would preclude their exploitation of the oil.
There was a significant window where Japan had conquered Manchuria, was only facing an insurgency campaign, had secured the Chinese government’s acquiescence in the occupation of Manchuria and had yet to expand their operations to the “rest” of China.
In this window the PoD is the finding of the oil.
I’m saying the Japanese will hold with what they currently have in Manchuria to exploit the oil find, before launching any new combat operations.
You seem, as far as I can tell, to be saying the Japanese will continue on an OTL course of action (for reasons) rather than pursuing the chance to become oil independent.
This is the point of confusion for me. Why would the Japanese pass up the chance to be immune to oil embargoes?
Without further diversion from history, the war is likely to be on the same track as reality - the war in North China would spread to Shanghai, which Japan would react by attacking and capturing Nanjing. and the Western powers supports the Chinese war efforts through Hanoi-Nanning supply line, the commercial treaty between America and Japan is cancelled in 1939, and on.