Brilliant use of the night fighters.
I've scribed this in the Holy Handbook of Handy Hints.
It seems to me the Japanese player can be cursed with early night bombing, Lightning sweeps, tank assaults, Fletcher spam, overwhelming material superiority. Finding answers to these problems makes being Japan so much more enjoyable. The answers are there somewhere...
Of course the Allies have their own curses too.
The answer, I think, lies as much in strategy as tactics. Operations and tactics are very important in this game, and other things being equal, generally determine the winner (who can get there firstest with the mostest) just as in real war. Thus strategically Japan has an advantage as her internal lines of movement are shorter than the allies, and she can move asset rapidly from one area of her defensive perimeter to the other, whereas the allies have much longer routes, for most of the war, to bring their forces to bear at any one location.
There is another solution, I think, though it is too late to try it in your game. That is to gain control of large swaths of the Pacific, especially Centpac early. In most cases, it is not a handful of Punjabi divisions that will bring down the empire. It is the rapid expansion and application of the U.S. force-pool. As such, I tend to think Japan needs to focus more on the Pacific in the early going, setting up listening posts all across the Pacific to hunt down and destroy U.S. deployments and force, by whatever mean necessary, a carrier engagement, before they are hopelessly outnumbered.
Mahan was correct and the Japanese navy was correct in their initial planning, in my opinion. They just enacted their strategic plans too late, as the army´s needs were always given preference. Put Tojo in charge of the Southern Army on December 6; get him out of Tokyo. Then Yamamoto will have the emperor´s ear, and Japan has a chance to win.