Japanese Defence Minister Tomomi Inada (R) shakes hands with US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis following a joint press conference at the defence ministry in Tokyo on February 4, 2017. / AFP / Toru YAMANAKA
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New Pentagon chief an instant hit in Japan, South KoreaIn his debut abroad as the first retired general to lead the Pentagon in more than half a century, Jim Mattis found that in Japan and South Korea his experience in uniform is seen as an asset.Mattis won easy confirmation by the U.S. Senate just hours after President Donald Trump's swearing in on Jan. 20 .Mattis retired from a 41-year career in the Marine Corps in 2013 .Abe noted that Mattis's military career included a stint on Okinawa, which the U.S. returned to Japanese control in 1972 based on an agreement signed a year earlier to end the postwar period of U.S. military control.Mattis was not shy, either, about highlighting his military background.In picking Mattis, 66, to lead the Pentagon, Trump seemed enamored of the general's popular nickname, "Mad Dog," as if this served as a warning to the world not to mess with America.
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