Independent Journal Review
"Secretary of Defense James Mattis received glowing reviews from foreign dignitaries during his recent trip to Asia, all thanks to a quality that was once believed to be a detriment to him.
"Mattis's extensive military experience was a point of contention during his confirmation hearing, with many Democrats believing that his appointment was a threat to a longstanding tradition of civilian control of the military. But according to Military Times, Mattis was praised for that very same experience during his first overseas trip. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe referenced Mattis's military career, saying:
“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.”
"Although Mattis spent most of his military career focused on the Middle East and Europe, he is no stranger to Japan. As a young lieutenant in 1972, Mattis trained in Okinawa, a fact that was also referenced by Prime Minister Abe, saying: