Numdydar, there are a number of Japanese players that play deep into 1945 and make the Allied player's life darned tough. There's a chance they're playing substandard opponents, but I think the larger factor is their experience and ability. The three that I follow most closely are Lokasenna, Obvert and Lowpe. I think there are a bunch of others. In their hands, Japan in 1944 can be brutally tough, so that the Allied advance is painfully slow and painful.
I know that JFBs have fought the Allies to a standstill. And I did the same until about mid-'43. But my opponent did not do anything rash or stupid and opposed me here and there until his strength was built up in CVs and AC.
We had exactly three CV versus CV battles in the entire game. One in mid '42 where he lost 1-2 CV's and mine were pretty beat up. The second was in like July '43 where I lost 3 CVs and he lost 1-2. The last one was in late '44 around the Home islands where I lost the bulk of my CVs and he barely got scratched. Damned armored decks lol.
The reason we only had three was he never exposed his CVs recklessly. The one in '42 was because of a reaction move on my part protecting another fleet. Don't recall what. The second was also a reaction on my part, but I knew he was close by with his CVs and wanted to do damage while I still had parity.
But yes, bombardment was his preferred method of killing off AFs, ports, etc. But if his Bombard fleet took too much damage. he would send in raids like this, then start the bombardment all over again.
The major issues with AFBs that I have seen in AARs is they try and do things ahistorical and loose too many assets in the beginning, AC, ships, etc. My guy did none of those things. He basically let me do whatever I wanted until late '42 when he began to test my defenses.