What would the US be like today if Japan had won World War 2?
I'll tell you what the US would NOT be like had Japan won the war.
- Many people say "the world would be speaking German had the Nazis won" but that doesn't make much sense. People in India and Nigeria learn English not because of the Second World War but because they are multicultural nations that used to be British colonies. People in Bulgaria or the former East Germany aren't speaking Russian; Americans wouldn't be speaking German or Japanese even if the Axis had won the war.
- The US wouldn't be
invaded and occupied by the Japanese. Invading America across the Ocean was a logistical impossibility that no German Wonder Weapon could cure. The Japanese didn't even plan an invasion; their goal was to force Washington into signing a peace treaty by making the victory too costly for (what they supposed to be) a mild-mannered, poorly motivated culture.
- The US would be considerably less well off, economically, then she is today. The Second World War was a war fought primarily for natural resources. European economies back in the 30s were mercantilistic; meaning that they tried to monopolise certain natural resources by capturing the lands that harbored those resources. Had she won, the Japanese empire would impose a de-facto embargo on her former enemies to obtain some measure of political control over the West.
This is e stuff of Alternate history which intrigues me, and I must get a copy of the Philip dick book mentioned by others.
Let us assume that we had by now established territories and stopped waging war.
I would imagine that the USA would be even more insular, and less internationally commercial. The USA would be relatively unimportant internationally.
Japan would be ruling over most of the far east and Australia & New Zealand would be in an "interesting" situation - probably independent but in a close trading relationship with the Japanese Empire.
Sino-Japanese and russo -Japanese relations would possibly have been agreed after more terrible war but sooner or later a restive peace would have been established.
it is also possible that Japan was so exhausted by creating (or protecting their Empire that they would have to slowly do what the UK did and grant independence to many parts whilst retaining a good relationship with them.
Or we could still be destroying thousand of lives and resources, which we still do somewhere on the planet all the time anyway.
The US wouldn't exist because for Japan to have won, it would have required Germany to win as well, because if Germany fell, Russia would have absolutely DESTROYED Japan. Therefore, if Japan won, it would have been a combined Axis victory.
If that is the case there are two scenarios:
- The US did not get involved until after the war. Had this happened, Germany and Japan would have taken over all of Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia. They would have a manufacturing base that would be able to not just match but absolutely shred the US's. They would have had the combined might of the USSR's factories, Germany's, Englands, and they would have had a huge slave labour force of the millions of Chinese, Indians, Black Africans and Slavs. Their military technology would also be far ahead of the US since they would have captured Englands Radar systems and computers. Therefore, all of this would have allowed Germany to build a powerful navy for the first time since the 1910's. The US would have been crushed in a two sided war against armies armed with StG 45, the Messerschmidt Comet, Tiger II, and the most magnificent aircraft carriers in the world.
- If the US did get involved, the Axis powers would have less time to arm up so I hypothesize that they would try and attack immediately. Depending on how much the US captured, they might have been able to knock out one of them, but unless that happened, once the Axis settled in and started to crank out their equipment... well I would be speaking Japanese... you would be speaking German or Japanese.
Philip K. Dick has given a pretty good account on the life in US in this kind of scenario: The Man in a High Castle
Phillip K Dick's book the Man in the High Castle is as good of hypothesis as any to the possible ramifications of the axis winning WW II.
In short western U.S. would be Pacific controlled the eastern U.S. Atlantic controlled. Civilization would be set back to the point of unimaginable.