I wouldn't say that the Japanese "ignored" that need, so much as it was thwarted by allied (primarily US) forces. Japan desperately tried to reinforce and resupply her forces at Guadalcanal (the so-called Tokyo Express) and our unrestricted submarine warfare against anything that hinted of logistical support was extremely successful (the "Black Cat" squadrons that were formed from the remnants of our pacific VP squadrons also existed for that very purpose).
Japan’s Imperial Army had lived off the land, so to speak in China, Mongolia and Korea. In fact, the Japanese islands received foodstuffs, raw materials and even dismantled factories from these countries in the 1930s. Their merchant marine was never as developed as the US.