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As part of the process, secret discussions were held with Thai Prime Minister Phibun Songkhram, in which the Japanese military sought free passage through Thailand.
Taiwan Army Unit 82 (Strike South planning) was formed in 1939 or 1940 to bring this about.Phibun could have decided he had little choice, as his own forces would have been unable to defeat the Japanese by themselves.Thailand's invasion of French Indochina in 1940 made it difficult for the United States government to support Phibun.In late November, the British had become aware of a probable attack on Thailand by Japan because of the rapid buildup of Japanese troops in Indochina.On 1 December 1941, Prime Minister Tojo of Japan stated that he was uncertain where Thailand stood regarding allowing Japanese troops free passage through its territory, but was hopeful a clash could be avoided.In its final planning stages, the unit was commanded by Colonel Yoshihide Hayashi.
As part of conquering Southeast Asia, the Japanese military planned to invade Malaya and Burma.
Thailand had a well-disciplined military, and after a series of border skirmishes in 1940 had invaded neighbouring French Indochina to recover provinces lost in the Franco-Siamese War of 1893.
The Japanese, who wanted to use the Indo-Chinese ports and air-bases, acted as negotiators to bring about a settlement between the French and Thais on 31 January 1941.
Further negotiations took place between the Japanese diplomatic representative, Tamara, and Phibun on 2 December.
Phibun was prepared to look the other way if Japan invaded the Kra Peninsula, but wanted them to avoid passing through the Bangkok Plain.
Midway through 1941, Phibun sought British and American guarantees of effective support if Japan invaded Thailand.