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FOREIGN MINISTER HAYASHI:  We appreciate you being here in Karuizawa.  And you know I (inaudible) in which you (inaudible) first day here in Karuizawa.  So I still remember the first (inaudible) conversation between ourselves on November 2021, which we said we should (inaudible) perfect harmony.  And now we’re playing a perfect (inaudible), so we’re really glad to do that.  So this is a crucial moment in (inaudible) a free and open international order by (inaudible).  So it’s (inaudible).  Appreciate you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thank you, my friend.  And I think, first of all, thank you for the birthday celebration – multiple cakes, too.  (Laughter.)  But I think, once again, the last day has been just further evidence that we could ask for no better partner than Japan.  Your leadership with the G7 has been exceptional, and we’re very much looking forward to the leaders meeting that we’re preparing here.

But beyond that, the partnership every single day on the most challenging issues that we face as an international community that wants to uphold the rule of law – whether it’s Ukraine, whether it’s DPRK, whether it’s trying to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific, which we’re both working on together, whether it’s strengthening economic ties among countries – in these and so many other endeavors, your leadership has been deeply important and deeply valued.  And we really appreciate not only the hospitality here at the G7, but the very good work that’s being done under your leadership.  So thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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