“[T]he staff officers who had been wandering around the halls of peace at IGHQ [Imperial General Headquarters], the top advisors who fumbled the ball when given the chance for peace, as well as the emperor himself, all for the sake of insufficient material capabilities, were at once intoxicated by the dramatic reports of the first strikes [on 8 December against the US, Britain, and the Dutch East Indies] and at the same time struck with amnesia about how hesitant they had been in the past. The majority of the Japanese people as well went crazy over the Empire’s initial victories, without a clue as to why their generals, being aware of how reckless such a venture was, had plunged them into war.
“[On 10 December 10 1941, the] IGHQ/Government Liaison Conference decided to ‘designate the present conflict, including the China Incident, as the Greater East Asia War.’ As to intent of such a moniker, it seems that most people at IGHQ General Staff, including the War Planning Detail, who wanted to limit objectives of the war, understood it to be simply a geographical title.
“… On 12 December, the Ministry of War’s Information Bureau publicly announced, ‘The title Greater East Asia War signifies a conflict for the purpose of building a new Greater East Asia Order and does not imply limiting the theatre of war to the region of Greater East Asia.'”
– Japan’s Colonial Moment in Southeast Asia 1942-1945: The Occupiers’ Experience, by Nakano Satoshi, 2018