How could Imperial Japan have defeated the United States during the Second World War?
I'm not much of one for alt-history; it's too much like writing fiction, a genre for which I have no gift. Prophesying about what would have happened had one of the antagonists done this or that quickly degenerates into a guessing game. Still, it is possible to identify some things Tokyo could have done to improve its chances of prevailing over an industrial giant that only needed time and resolve to build up overwhelming military power. Bottom line, the weaker side has to fight smart to win against the strong.
Herewith, my list of five ways Imperial Japan could have offset the resource disparity:
Don't fight land and sea wars simultaneously. Unable to referee between the army, which espoused war in continental Asia, and the navy, which beckoned his attention seaward, the emperor permitted both campaigns to proceed. Tokyo thus disregarded the strategic wisdom of a Carl von Clausewitz, who warned against opening new theaters that place success in the primary theater at risk. The emperor failed to adjudicate between the military services — and thus compelled the empire to fight a far stronger power with only a fraction of its strength. Dispersing power is misbegotten strategy for the weaker belligerent.