Yosuke Matsuoka; Wikimedia Commons

Shortly after concluding a neutrality pact with the USSR, Japan’s Foreign Minister, Matsuoka Yosuke had ignored German hints about their upcoming Barbarosa offensive. In a meeting with his cabinet,  he proposed that Japan now join the Germans in their attack on the Soviets. After a week of deliberation with the Army, Navy and Foreign Ministries,  the Japanese leadership decided not to intervene and concentrate on the occupation of Southern Indochina to establish a “Greater East-Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.”