|An activity held to mark 45th anniversary of Vietnam-Japan diplomatic ties(Photo: thoidai.com.vn)
Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Kunio Umeda made the statement in an interview granted to Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties (September 21, 1973-2018).
According to the diplomat, the Vietnam-Japan relationship is now at its highest level so far, based on mutual trust and close attachment. As the two nations share many strategic benefits, Japan wishes to strengthen collaboration with Vietnam on the basis of basic perceptions of Vietnam’s sustainable economic development and capacity enhancement to ensure national defence and security.
“This is especially important to the stability and prosperity of Japan, as well as the whole Asia-Pacific region”, he said, adding that the enhancement of bilateral cooperation is becoming more and more significant as the world has been witnessing changing global relations.
Regarding priority cooperation areas between the two countries, the diplomat said Vietnam is now in a great transition phase in terms of politics and economy, with abundant energy sources for growth. If the country can bring into full play these sources, it will see great strides.
“I hope that Vietnam can fully tap that opportunity to grow strongly,” he said.
Bilateral economic cooperation has developed drastically in recent times, with the increasing attention from Japanese businesses towards Vietnam reflected through the number of Japanese enterprises and projects popping up in the Southeast Asian nation, the ambassador.
In 2017, Japan’s direct investment in Vietnam hit 9.1 billion USD, the highest level so far. The figure for the first half of this year was 6.5 billion USD, making Japan the largest foreign investor in Vietnam.
More than 3,100 Japanese businesses have landed investment in Vietnam, marking an increase of 40 percent in four years. Japanese firms now top 1,700 members of the Japanese Business Association in Vietnam, surpassing those in Thailand.
The Japanese side wishes to continue cooperating with Vietnam, especially in boosting the growth of its economy, the ambassador said, noting that Japan has been busy implementing an array of collaboration programmes with Vietnam in developing hardware infrastructure, such as bridges, seaports, airports, and expressways.
Regarding software infrastructure, Japan has partnered with Vietnam in perfecting the latter’s legal system, training human resources, and improving labour productivity, he added.
In the coming time, together with expanding investment areas and scale, the Japanese side expects to continue cooperating with Vietnam in infrastructure development, thus supporting its sustainable development.
The diplomat said his country also hopes to join hands with Vietnam to improve its administration capacity.
Joining Vietnam’s administrative reform efforts, Japan will share all of its experience – both successes and failures – with Vietnam, he stated.
“As Japan is prone to natural disasters and Vietnam is one of the countries hardest hit by climate change, we wish to enhance affiliation in this field in order to minimise negative impact of climate change on Vietnam,” said Kunio Umeda.
Regarding prospects for bilateral collaboration – as both Vietnam and Japan are members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), formerly the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – the ambassador stated that at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week 2017 held in Vietnam’s central city of Da Nang in November last year, the two countries co-chaired the TPP Ministerial Meeting, during which several important decisions were made, such as the titular change.
This is just one of the cooperation achievements between Japan and Vietnam, he said, adding that in the context of rising protectionism in several economies, bringing the CPTPP into force at an early date is particularly crucial to both countries.
Six of the 11 participating economies must complete domestic ratification procedures to make the deal effective. At present, only three economies have completed such procedures, namely Mexico, Japan, and Singapore.
It is known that the Vietnamese National Assembly will verify laws related to the CPTTP at its upcoming session, he said, expressing his hopes that Vietnam will become one of the first six economies to ratify the agreement.
If the CPTTP comes into force, Vietnam’s exports will surely increase, he predicted.
On measures to boost cultural and educational cooperation as well as people-to-people exchange, the ambassador said as 2018 marks the 45th anniversary of Vietnam-Japan diplomatic ties, more than 170 related events are scheduled to take place in both countries this year.
At the Vietnamese Festivals in Tokyo, Yokohama of Kanagawa prefecture, and Aichi prefecture, around 100,000 Japanese people came to have an insight of the land, culture and cuisine of Vietnam.
Meanwhile, in Hanoi, the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam has coordinated with organisations and friendship associations in arranging a wide variety of celebration activities, including a concert of NHK orchestra on September 7 and the Vietnam-Japan Music Festival 2018 on September 15.
In the field of educational cooperation, Kunio Umeda said that alongside connections between Vietnamese and Japanese universities and projects to increase the number of Japanese language learners, new cooperation activities have also been deployed, including sharing experience in organising lunches at public schools, and music and physical training at high schools in Vietnam.
The Vietnam-Japan University, a symbolic project for the bilateral collaboration in this field, is expected to see gigantic developments in the time to come, he noted.
In addition, Japan has also paid close attention to exchanges between the two countries’ youths, especially in sports, he said, hoping that many Vietnamese athletes will take part in the next Olympics and Paralympics to be held in Tokyo in 2020.