Japan's search for a political format to underpin its military expansion in Asia relied on two elements. Japan exploited its status as the first Asian country which had achieved rapid modernization to present itself as a natural model, and as the natural leader, for other Asians who wanted to modernize their own countries. The Americans established a nationwide public education system, making English the official language and teaching it in all schools. The Americans of course promoted American values and ways of life, and these values and ways were reinforced by a liberal economic system in which free trade gave American firms and American culture full access to the Philippine market. Japanese government and military planners realized that their occupation policy for the Philippines would face several problems and differences from the rest of Southeast Asia.