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Japanese ambassador visits N.D.

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BISMARCK -- Gov. Jack Dalrymple highlighted North Dakota's economy and products during a visit Tuesday with the Japanese ambassador to the United States.

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Dalrymple invited Ichiro Fujisaki to the state to discuss expanded trade and cultural opportunities between North Dakota and Japan. Fujisaki is visiting North Dakota for the day and attending events and meetings in Bismarck and Grand Forks.

Fujisaki said he hopes Japanese companies will find North Dakota an attractive place to expand investments and pursue additional trade.

Japan is North Dakota's eighth largest export market. From 2000 to 2011, annual exports to Japan have doubled from $15.1 million to $31.3 million, according to the North Dakota Trade Office.

Fujisaki will offer a Japan-North Dakota Symposium at the University of North Dakota this afternoon.

The presentation will be open to the public and will focus on the relationship between Japan and North Dakota, as well as Japan and the U.S., a news release said. The event is from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. CT in Odegard Hall, Room 115.

Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown called the ambassador's visit "a tremendous honor."

"Our residents have strong connections with the Japanese people, forged through years of various partnerships, programs and exchanges," he said in a statement. "We look forward to opportunities like this visit to build upon this relationship."

Check back for more on this story.

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