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For the Japanese side, there is the fundamental  horrible irony that the action was such a tactical success and such a strategic blunder. They snuck a large fleet right up to our main naval base, and caught the US completely by surprise. Their casualties were proportionately very low, and they smashed our surface fleet very badly. Yet they could hardly have done more to start a process which would doom them at the end. The aircraft carriers and the submarines, that were the only US offensive weapons left, were exactly the direction the US navy needed to take.
After the deadly success of the Japanese attack, any notion that aircraft carriers were merely auxiliary craft for battleships was pretty well discredited; who knows how much more US effort would have been allocated to these battleship/dinosaurs  otherwise. In addition, our submarines were freed of the recon/escort duties that battleship groups often required, and could be devoted to the deep strategic attacks on Japanese shipping that proved so devastating. Finally the "sneak" nature of the attack did much to unify and outrage the US population, making them more willing to accept the costs of war, and more determined to make the Japanese "pay" for the attack.

Ironically, a direct challenge to a naval 'duel' would not only have been much better viewed by the US public but also much more effective.
Instead of sinking a few feet into bottom mud, any US losses would have gone into the deep blue sea.
The Japanese fleet had 7 full size carriers and 8 other smaller ones, while at the time the US had only "three operational carriers … stationed in the Pacific" and the Saratoga was in San Diego.

The Japanese Zero fighter was faster and more agile than any US carrier fighter we had and they had them in large numbers: " At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor 420 Zeros were active in the Pacific" and "In early combat operations, the Zero gained a legendary reputation as a dogfighter, achieving the outstanding kill ratio of 12 to 1". It's range was almost 2000 miles! over twice that of US fighters.
Japanese torpedoes were better and more reliable than the US ones in 1941, and their torpedo bombers flew faster than ours.
All in all, if Japan had given 2 weeks notice and put all it had into one Knock-Out blow, they could probably have destroyed much of the US fleet, then invaded Hawaii-- and gotten points for 'fair play'.
Ironically the Japanese plan was to declare war just before the attack on Pearl Harbor, and had they sent a few brief sentences, rather than pages of text, they would have beaten the deadline.
Getting a briefer declaration in under the wire would have done more to enhance Japan's image than anything this litany may have contained.

Of course the largest irony is that if Japan had actually walked its talk about Asian CO-prosperity, instead of indulging in irrational bellicose cruelties, China and Korea would have almost certainly have welcomed investment and bandit-suppression.
Japan could have gotten so much more with honey than it ever could with vinegar, even besides the fact that it would have avoided a war with the USA.

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