United opened their visit with a 2-2 draw against J-League champions Urawa Red Diamonds in Saitama, Darren Fletcher and Cristiano Ronaldo netting for Ferguson's men.

Almost 60,000 fans turned out on a horrible rain-swept evening, once more proving the popularity United enjoy in Asia and giving credence to the belief the Barclays Premier League champions were right to stick to their guns and make the trip in the face of opposition from the Asian Football Federation and FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

The ongoing Asia Cup did mean United were forced to cancel their intended trip to Malaysia. However, Ferguson rejected the notion all United, one of half a dozen senior English clubs who will be visiting the region over the next fortnight, are interested in is cashing in commercially.

"We are not trying to steal fans from other clubs and it is not about just taking," he said.

"Yesterday we arrived after a 14-hour journey and some of the players went to a school for the blind, while others went on a hospital visit to see some young kids.

"Football has changed a lot since I was a boy. Nowadays, people watch games on TV and tours like this give them the opportunity to see some of their favourite players in the flesh. That is exciting for them.

"We have also brought our soccer schools to this part of the world in order to try and help educate young players. It is part of Manchester United's history and tradition to give out information and knowledge and also add our name to particular causes.

"It is unfortunate the Asia Cup is on when we have the opportunity to come here.

"Every second year there is a World Cup or a European Championship, when we cannot give a tour the same kind of attention we are doing at the moment."

Despite an inexplicable Edwin van der Sar blunder which gifted Urawa the opener and Shinji Ono's late solo effort that denied United victory, Ferguson expressed his satisfaction with their efforts.

At such an early stage of their pre-season campaign, the fluidity of United's passing was excellent and Ferguson feels many of his usual summer questions have already been answered.

"We always hope for early indicators about the progress of the players and team," he said.

"I told them before the start of last season we were setting off on a journey that could take them a long way. We have had further evidence there is no regression.

"You always look to see whether the enthusiasm is still there, whether the desire is still there and whether the players are still enjoying their football. I think we saw that they are."

Ferguson is hoping a resolution to the Carlos Tevez affair can finally be reached this week.

The Argentina striker is expected to undergo a medical on Thursday, although, as yet, there has been no breakthrough.

"Things are bowling along and we hope he comes but there is no news really," said the United boss.

Ferguson has also ruled new arrivals Owen Hargreaves and Nani out of Friday's encounter with FC Seoul in the South Korean capital.

The pair are currently suffering minor knee and ankle injuries respectively and although no doubt keen to play, Ferguson argued there is little point risking injury at this stage.

"Owen has a touch of tendinitis, which happens with a lot of players at the start of the season," he said.

"Maybe he will be okay for the third game of the tour. Nani will be back then.

"He picked up an ankle injury during the European Under-21 Championships. It is not long term but there is no need to rush him back."