Wachi became a colonel in 1937, and was assigned to the Kwangtung Army during the Battle of Shanghai. Some historians hold him to be one of the prime instigators of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 1 July 1937. He remained in China after start of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 attached to the Japanese China Garrison Army Staff. Wachi engaged in efforts to negotiate with the Chinese to end the war and tried to communicate with General He Yingqin the National Revolutionary Army Chief of Staff, via a Chinese agent in 1938, but these efforts failed.
Wachi was transferred to Taiwan in 1938, and back to Japan, where he was assigned to the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff from 1938 to 1939. He returned to China from 1939 to 1940 on the staff of the Central China Expeditionary Army. Promoted to major general in 1940, he returned to Taiwan in 1941 as Chief of Staff of the Taiwan Army of Japan, while simultaneously heading its Research Division, which was studying issues related to land warfare in Southeast Asia.
In February 1942, Wachi was transferred to become Chief of Staff of the IJA 14th Army in the Philippines, which participated in the final assault on the American fortress island of Corregidor. He was promoted to lieutenant general in 1943. In March 1944, he became Chief of Staff of the Southern Expeditionary Army, and subsequently Chief of Staff of the IJA 35th Army fighting on Leyte that November.
Wachi was ordered back to the Japanese home islands after the loss of the Philippines to Allied forces in 1945, and was assigned to command the Kempeitai in Hiroshima – considerable demotion. He retired from active military service in 1945.
After the surrender of Japan, Wachi was arrested by the American occupation authorities and charged with war crimes in connection with the actions of Japanese military personnel in the Philippines. He was convicted by a military tribunal in Yokohama and sentenced to six years at hard labor at Sugamo Prison. He was released parole in 1950.