There are many theories as to why the Japanese lost the war in the Pacific. Some important historiams aver that it was because of the failure of the Japanese fleet to sink the US carriers at Pearl Harbor and still other lay stress on the fact that the Japanese relied more on the battleship and neglected the carrier force.
All of them have a ring of truth, but the basic fault in the Japanese naval strategy and the policy of the Imperial general staff was the failure to have a aggressive forward policy. In that the Japanese attacked Pearl harbor inHawaii witha view to decimate the US fleet, but at no stage had formulated any plans to occupy Hawaii itself. This was a colossal blunder made by the Japanese think tank and showed their limited geopolitical horizon.
The Japanese mounted an air attack on Hawaii and did decimate the US pacific fleet , but Pearl Harbor was left untouched. The installations were repaired and the US Navy could start its operations against the Imperial Navy.
In case the Japanese had made plans to capture Hawaii the entire naval battle in the Pacific would have taken a different color. For this the Japanese Imperial General Staff must have loaded at 2/3 troopshipalong with the carrier task force. There was a need for the heavy ships to approach the Hawaii coast and pepper the islands with a heavy bombardment and under that attack to launch a amphibious landing on the coast of Hawaii.
The USA was already taken by surprise and in case the Jap marines had landed on Hawaii there is every chance that Hawaii would have been over run. The result would have been a decisive victory as the entire Pacific would have become a Japanese lake and all Naval facilities denied to the US Bavy which would have to shift base to the US west coast for operations.
This operation required a global vision which was sadly lacking in. The Japanese leadership who only thought of decimating the US fleet and not of occupying Hawaii, thus did a singular disservice to cause of a japanese victory in the Pacific. The best part is that with the Japanese marines holding Hawaii the 3 carriers returning back from the sea would have been sitting ducks for the Japanese battle cruisers and battleships. In such a situation the US Navy would have lost the Pacific war