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Secretary of Defense Mattis to visit Japan, ROK on first overseas tour

NHK and Fuji TV reported this morning that Secretary of Defense Mattis is planning to visit Japan and South Korea in early February on his first official overseas trip. Fuji TV reported that the new defense chief is expected to visit the two nations from Feb. 2 to 4. NHK said if the plan is confirmed, it will be the first trip to Japan by a cabinet member of the Trump administration. NHK reported that Secretary Mattis said in a statement addressed to Pentagon officials that he will work on strengthening America’s relationships with its allies, adding that he also spoke by phone with his counterparts in the UK and Canada and highlighted the importance of the alliances. Noting that President Trump insisted during his election campaign that he would call on Japan to pay more to host U.S. troops, the network said some members of the GOJ think the Trump administration will urge Japan to bear a greater financial burden in the security sector. The network speculated that the new defense chief is also aiming to demonstrate his stance of attaching importance to the bilateral alliance, adding that a Pentagon official told the network that the new U.S. defense chief will visit Japan “to reaffirm the strong alliance with Japan.”

Kyodo News ran a similar report.

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