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Politics

Japan's Foreign Minister Hayashi 'imagines' future as leader

With successful switch to lower house, lawmaker removes biggest obstacle

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi plays "Imagine" on a replica of John Lennon’s piano during a tour of the Beatles Museum with Group of Seven foreign ministers in Liverpool on Dec. 11. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss leads the applause. (Photo courtesy of No. 10 Downing Street)

TOKYO -- Three days after taking office as Japan's foreign minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi was on the phone with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. After exchanging peasantries and the usual talking points, the two diplomats quickly broke the ice by moving on to their favorite pastime: rock music.

Blinken has what he jokingly calls a "wonk" rock band named Ablinken, whose songs are available on Apple Music. Hayashi's band, Gi!nz, which sounds like "lawmakers" in Japanese, has been playing music since 1997, albeit with some changes in membership.

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