There's such an abundance of resource centers available that repairing them is never really necessary. In my games against the AI, I've only had to ship resources from Hokkaido and whatever trickles in through Fusan - I haven't had to harvest Resources from Java/Sumatra, New Guinea, CentPac, or Australia and I'm still gaining on the "Days Remaining" Tracker field for Resources in the HI.
LI is such garbage that in some cases, especially in China, I've bombed it simply so that there will be less of it when I take the base. I'd rather those resources flowed over to Fusan and then to the HI for Heavy Industry than be wasted on LI in China (I'm going to have to ship in Supplies anyway, LI isn't going to make or break me there).
You seem to have a narrow view of this side of the game. Resources are very important in some localities; they don't only matter in the case where they flow to the HI. Ditto LI. Every point of LI supply made locally in Burma, or Java, or China is a point Japan doesn't have to ship from the HI outbound. Every point not shipped is fuel saved, damage to ships not incurred, sinkings to subs and surface patrols not taken, and the opportunity cost of using xAKs to move supplies is not recorded.
I agree there are a lot of Resources on the map, and they can't be hurt much if the Allies wait until 1944 to attack them. Similarly with LI. But earlier? Take a look at just one base--Rangoon--and do an analysis of the supply flows needed to fight up-country if Rangoon's organic generation is destroyed, LI and Refineries both.
There are also cases where it is to Japan's advantage to destroy supply generation even at bases they intend to capture, and to re-build it later rather than take the LCU and time losses inherent in letting the Allies have that supply for defense. How often do you see Japanese players using their air force for this? Never. Endless daily bombing of AFs to prevent fort-building. Guess what? You can't build forts well at all past level 3 without a pant-load of supply. Nor can you fight.
This is a deep, deep game if you let it be.
You make a good point. Burma is a pretty hairy area and I have very little idea of how to play well there, that much is clear from my experiences so far (it's a good place to learn the importance of supply). I'm sure a human would ruin my day in that TOO.
I do want to destroy the LI in China more for robbing the Chinese of supply than for not sucking up my own Resources, though. I just don't repair it because if I want to be well-supplied I'm going to have to ship in supply anyway, and I can double this up with Resource extraction convoys so there isn't really any efficiency lost on an empty return trip.
The general cases are different for islands than large land masses, although, to be clear, "there are islands, and then there are islands." But the recieved wisdom among JFBs since the game shipped sources from one statement by one Japanese economy expert who long ago said "never repair LI." This was based on the simple arithmetic truth that it takes 1000 supply to repair one point of damage, and that one point takes 1000 days to recoup that cost--three years--so . . . don't do it. But this simple math is just that. It's true, don't get me wrong. But it's too simple. Pushing and pulling supply states around is a core gameplay task for both players. Sometimes that involves destroying, but sometimes it involves repairing too.
Opportunity cost is an economic and accounting concept that basically describes the cost of something that is given up in order to do or get something else. It's often ignored in real world business because it's "invisible"--it's the cost and benefit of the case which didn't happen, which wasn't chosen. In the game the actual, "hard" cost of repairing that LI point is 1000 supply, today, taken out of local stocks. And the imagined benefit is a long time from now, when the 1000 is re-paid by local production.
But that isn't the total situation, and it gets real sticky in the game because the real situation is a very complex set of variables not all under the LI-owner's control, and subject to gameplay events in the future. So the player is left with probabilities. Take one case, in China, of an LI point left unrepaired versus the total system costs and benefits of repair.
Repair case: 1000 supply cost today (after achieving 10,000 local supply); one more supply accrues tomorrow and every day thereafter. Supply for air operations, fort building, infrastructure building, and LCU repalcements is sourced locally at a +1 daily rate. It is secure from enemy interference. It comes every day, rain or shine, monsoon or not, unaffected by weekly or bi-weekly supply flows from distant piles. It was not carried by a ship. This has a stream of other offshoots such as less fuel consumed, fuel which must be goten from rare bases highly attractive to attack. Less system damage is accrued in the merchants. There is less chance for loss of the merchant as well as loss of VPs if the merchant is safe in port. If the merchant is hauling supplies it cannot be hauling something else--troops, airplanes, resources, fuel. If the merchant moves it needs escorts, which cost fuel and damage and are also prevented from doing other jobs. It needs air cover, ditto. Loss of escorts or air cover costs VPs.
Perhaps most importantly the supply that base pulls in to replace the LI it does not produce with repaired local industry is supply that cannot be used someplace else. Japan has a fixed theoretical maximum supply production on the map. This is built into the code and the scenario through multipliers. If I backfill China with Home Island-generated supply while leaving China's LI unrepaired that is supply I don't have in the HI, by definition. Supply that cannot defend in the end-game. Supply that can't be used to expand the industrial base. Supply that can't go to perimeter islands which have no organic supply production, ever. This is the biggest opportunity cost. By letting China be "lazy" you may compromise both the outer defense ring as well as Home Island core industrial expansion, or, in the late game, the ability to repair strat bombing damage in the HI and keep not only the air force up but also repair arms points production needed to keep the army fighting in the final defense phase which might get Japan a win or draw instead of a loss.
Supply also comes into the game structure in terms of time savings. Time is an immutable variable. Neither player can create more. It is the great leveler between asymmetric OOBs. If that LI point of local supply is there because the LI was repaired the time needed to replace lost devices is lower than the case where supply must first flow from the Home Islands. AF and port building can start more quickly after a new base falls if supply from previously repaired LI can flow a shorter distance to the new possession. The faster LCU replacements can begin, or infrastructure building commence, the shorter the time an HQ must hang around, or engineers must be at the new base and not forward with the operating forces. And so on. Opportunity cost is a key idea in warfare and always has been. It is built into the structure of AE in every corner of the design. It is far more complex than a simple "1000 days is a long time to get repaid."