At the eve of World War II, the Japanese Navy was one of the three largest navies of the world and was perhaps 'number one" in real power among the big three. By August 1945, after 3½ years of continuous war in the Pacific, this formidable naval force lay decimated, possessing almost no power.
"A Chess Game with No Checkmate: Admiral Inque and The Pacific War,"
Naval War College Review: Vol. 27
, Article 5.
Available at: http://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/nwc-review/vol27/iss1/5