Yes, provided the French are limited to their own resources. Since French communications at home were their primary responsibility, and the Italian fleet would pose a grave danger due to British neutrality, I would hazard the guess that the French could not muster much in the way of a Far Eastern squadron. Certainly not to deter the Japanese. However, if the British were to bare their teeth at their allies and warn them that the Anglo-Japanese alliance would be defunct in the event of a Japanese war with France, that would radically alter calculations in Tokyo. So here as with everything, the viability of the Entente depends on British participation.
Happily, the Japanese could function beneficially in harmony with the Entente by way of attacking Germany. And this is what they did. So, the far more interesting question is, what could Germany have done with its empire in the Far East that would have been better than what it did historically? For example. The United States Navy greatly desired coaling stations between Hawaii and Manila Bay. Should Germany have leased to the Americans anchorages in the Marshalls, Marianas, and Carolines in the pre-war years? I think they'd have done well to have done so. Was the best scheme in 1914 for Spee to run for South America and leave the garrison at Tsingtao to surrender to Japanese assault? What if he'd gone south to Australia with a portion of the Tsingtao garrison and landed them at Darwin, Broome, or Perth with the objective of tying down ANZAC forces?
Edited by glenn239, 02 December 2019 - 1249 PM.