“Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was effusive in his endorsement as the two shook hands Friday before a phalanx of Japanese and international news reporters and cameras.
“I was very encouraged,” Abe said, “to see someone like you who has substantial experience, both in the military and in security, defense and diplomacy, taking this office.”….
In Seoul, where civilian control of the military has a mixed history, Mattis’s counterpart, Han Min Koo, portrayed him as a kindred spirit. Han told reporters he knew why they were able to forge a bond in their very first meeting.
“I believe this was possible because we both served as active-duty servicemen for 40-plus years,” Han said.
Mattis was not shy, either, about highlighting his military background. In Tokyo he recalled training in Okinawa and elsewhere in Japan as a newly minted lieutenant in 1972. He said he made Japanese acquaintances that have lasted a lifetime.”