When the tides of World War III shifted in favor of the defending North American side, the United States began to inquire with Japanese leaders about the possibility of using Kyushu in much the same way Indonesia had. Their aim was to liberate the regions of their ally China, and strike at the heart of PEACE's military-industrial complex at Heilongjiang, Liaoning, and Karnataka. Japanese leaders balked at the suggestion, partly due to how unpopular the original Kyushu controversy was to the majority of Japanese citizens. In the months following the first controversy, cries of "Never Again!" were often heard throughout Japan, and many of the politicians who had voted in favor of the first region swap no longer held office.
With the election in November of Dokomo, a former North Korean refugee, the U.S. hoped they finally had a Japanese president who would be sympathetic to their request. United States diplomats began attempting to make inroads with Japanese officials in early November, with much of those discussions being fed back to Japan's Congress, where there was still tremendous resistance to the idea. In late November, as PEACE began to dissolve and Phoenix rose to replace it, and with the attacks by Phoenix on Croatia, Finland, and Malaysia, U.S. President Josh Frost went to Dokomo and asked for Kyushu. Once again, the response of Japan's congress was no.
On December 5 2009, Dokomo was re-elected as President of Japan and Jewitt scored an upset victory to become President of the United States. The next morning at 9am game time, Jewitt declared war on Japan with the stated intent of moving through Kyushu and returning it to Japan.
Battle for Kyushu
The United States declared war on Japan at approximately 9:00am game time on December 6. The new U.S. government decided to quickly declare war, knowing that Japan had not renewed its Mutual Protection Pact with Hungary. In fact, in the days prior to the war declaration, behind closed doors, the Japanese Congress had been debating whether to renew the Hungary MPP at all, and had decided not to. However, within 90 minutes of the United States' declaration, diplomats from Japan and Hungary rushed to the negotiation table and proposed an alliance. A few hours later, an alliance with Serbia was also proposed.
These swift diplomatic actions meant that the United States would have only a small time window within which they could attack Kyushu, without Japan's new MPPs being activated. The next morning, at 9:30am, Jewitt pressed the button, and Kyushu was under siege for the first time in more than a year. The battle that took place over the next 24 hours would be one of the bloodiest in eRepublik history.
All told, 15,389 citizens from all 60 countries participated in the battle, for a total damage of 10,833,016. Because of Kyushu's strategical importance vis a vis Phoenix's holdings in Asia, hundreds of tanks from the superpower alliance traveled to Kyushu to fight on behalf of the defenders. Hungary, despite not having an MPP in place, led the defensive effort with 1,641,198 damage inflicted. Russia, which did have an MPP with Japan, brought 3,256 citizens doing 1,210,779 damage to the battle. Japan, the defending country, was the fifth largest contributor for its side, with 265,151 damage.
The United States saw 4,515 of its citizens attack Kyushu for 2,011,128 damage. Because President Jewitt proposed the declaration of war at 9:00am game time, the United States was forced to fight the final hour of the battle at an uncomfortable time for American soldiers - late Tuesday morning. On the other hand, for European countries such as Hungary and Russia, the final hour took place during primetime when the largest percentage of their players was online. With a few hours to go in the fight, while most Americans were sleeping, Phoenix tanks pushed the wall past 550,000, and the confidence of the defensive side swelled. The wall continued to hold in the final 15 minutes of the battle, while a massive effort by EDEN tanks attempted to tear it apart. With the whole world watching, with regular citizens going into berzerker mode and tanks from both sides bleeding their nations' treasuries as they bought wellness pack after wellness pack, as the clock counted down to zero, both sides kept firing. Ten million damage was exerted, and when the dust had settled, the wall held by a mere 75,000 points. Kyushu was saved.
Retreat of Kyushu
On December 9, less than 48 hours after Japan planted its victory flag in the ground at Kyushu, Dokomo made a startling demand in his newspaper. The article was titled Japan's Role in the World and received 797 votes and 315 comments. Part of the letter addressed the Phoenix alliance directly. Dokomo told Phoenix that if China was threatened via land attack, by PTO, or by economic assault, that he would retreat Kyushu to the United States.
The response from the world was swift and clear. Phoenix nations were understandably upset, and literally hundreds of Phoenix soldiers began sharing their feelings of betrayal in the Japanese media.
Meanwhile, politicians in Japan were having discussions of their own. Dokomo's own words implied that he would seek congressional authority for his retreat tactic. Japan itself was deeply divided about Dokomo's threat. There were many citizens who held firmly to their long-held belief that Japan would never retreat Kyushu again.
Those who supported Dokomo mainly argued their position on the grounds that China was Japan's longtime ally, and that Japan's Righteous Nation Philosophy neccesitated that Japan battle for the liberation of Chinese regions. They argued that since EDEN had never been able to get through Kyushu to attack Phoenix positions in East Asia, Japan's "Never Again" policy made Japan a de factor supporter of Phoenix's hegemony in China. It was also argued that since Dokomo had already made the threat (without Congress approval) that Congress needed to approve any measure required to carry out the threat, to show toughness and a willingness to follow through. The vote giving Dokomo authority to retreat Kyushu passed 17-9 (with three abstentions) in Japan's Congress.
Speaking on behalf of the Phoenix alliance, Hungarian President Feherlofia Koppany responded to Dokomo's threat in his own newspaper on December 11. Koppany accused Dokomo of acting against the interests of his own nation, saying that Dokomo's true aim was always to "put Kyushu under the occupation of the USA." Koppany stated that Phoenix "did many courtesy to improve the relations with China" and cited Russia's return of Jilin to China, and a claim that Hungary offered a non-aggression pact and "some kind of rental for Heilongjiang." Critics of Koppany's letter would later point out that Jilin was returned to China via a heavily-fought Resistance War.
Koppany, who would go on to be a highly capable military leader during World War IV, rejected Japan's ultimatum. On December 13, Dokomo retreated Kyushu to the United States, allowing EDEN entry into Asia and sparking a global conflict. He would later receive the Progenitor Award for Best Political Move of 2009.
The debate surrounding the Second Kyushu Controversy was notable in many aspects. One particularly interesting facet was the tendency for both sides to make the same ad hominem attacks about their opponents, that they themselves were being accused of. EDEN had often railed against Phoenix for occupying other countries in the New World, and part of their argument in favor of Dokomo's ultimatum was the stated goal of liberating Chinese regions back to their "rightful" owner. Phoenix countered by suggesting that the United States would merely move into Phoenix's role in China and occupy the very same regions they were claiming to liberate. In Japan, Dokomo was accused of being a puppet of the United States. Meanwhile, Dokomo's supporters accused their opponents of being Phoenix puppets.
The controversy took on new life when Japanese Congressman Adavek revealed screenshots taken from a private gaming forum called Fires of Heaven, where many Japanese citizens originally heard about eRepublik. Commonly known as FoH, the group had organized around the Godzilla Party in Japan. Adavek himself was a member of Godzilla and the FoH forums, although he was later banned from the site because of this incident. The screenshots showed a thread called "USA declaring war" in which FoH members discussed the United States' invasion of Kyushu, and the subsequent events. The thread showed that many members of FoH were supportive of letting the U.S. move through Kyushu into Asia, and that most of them expected EDEN to win the original Kyushu fight.
The response by the world was multi-faceted and complicated. Because Adavek broke eRepublik rule 3.2 which prohibits linking to outside material without the owner's permission, his article was quickly taken down and he was temporarily banned. So it was only viewed by some players. It was briefly available to readers of Japan's national forums, but since the secret forum was private property Adavek was forced to take the screenshots down. And because it mainly revealed what Phoenix supporters had already accused Dokomo of - that he'd sided with the United States since the very beginning of the Kyushu Controversy - it did not add a new dimension to the debate, but simply cemented the views on both sides. In Japan the same dynamic occurre
😛many "native", non-FoH citizens had always distrusted the secretive nature of the group, but did not know exactly how it functioned. Whereas for those supporters who saw the screenshots, it confirmed the organizational prowess of the players known as FoH.
Instead of being a great revelation that changed the world, the screenshot incident - like the Second Kyushu Controversy itself - instead served to reinforce already held viewpoints, sharpening the lines of a heated debate that was far from over.
The sequel will be the next article.
Nicolas Bonaparte, eJapanese citizen