Firm Foundation for the Future of Japan-Vietnam Relations

Thursday - 15/02/2024 02:13
Firm Foundation for the Future of Japan-Vietnam Relations
Ambassador Pham Quang Hieu spoke during President Vo Van Thuong's visit to officials and employees of the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan and the Vietnamese community, on November 27, 2023. (Photo: Nguyen Hong)
Ambassador Pham Quang Hieu spoke during President Vo Van Thuong's visit to officials and employees of the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan and the Vietnamese community, on November 27, 2023. (Photo: Nguyen Hong)
The important achievements reached in 2023 will create a solid foundation for Japan-Vietnam relations to develop for many years to come.

2023 is a special year in Vietnam-Japan relations, marking 50 years of development of the extensive and increasingly strong friendship and cooperation between the two sides.

Diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Japan were officially established on September 21, 1973. Through many ups and downs and changes in the world, the region, and each country, the relationship between the two countries has witnessed rapid, outstanding, and comprehensive development. The countries have now become significant partners to each other, sharing numerous common strategic interests.

Motivation follows motivation

According to the Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan, in 2023, the two countries upgraded their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia and the world during President Vo Van Thuong's official visit to Japan (November 26-30, 2023). This is a solid foundation for the two countries to continue building a stronger relationship in the face of rapid changes on a global and regional scale.

Right after the two countries upgraded their relationship, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attended a special ASEAN-Japan summit in Tokyo, on December 15-18. This creates favorable conditions for the bilateral relations.

Ambassador Pham Quang Hieu said that the visit continues to create a strong driving force for further strengthening cooperation between the two countries in economics, trade, investment, and labor, bringing the two countries' relations to a deeper and more substantial level. At the end of May, Prime Minister Kishida invited Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to visit and attend the expanded G7 Summit in Hiroshima (May 18-21), showing Japan's respect for Vietnam's role in the region and the world.

On the Japanese side, the visits to Vietnam by Crown Prince Akishino, Senate President Otsuji Hidehisa in September 2023, Foreign Minister Kamikawa in October 2023, and Governors of Japanese localities have deepened the understanding and mutual respect at all levels, which will be beneficial for further promoting relations between the two countries.

Highlights are marked in all fields of cooperation

Reviewing aspects of bilateral relations, Ambassador Pham Quang Hieu expressed his joy that highlights are recorded in all fields. Regarding trade and investment, in 2023, the two countries' import-export turnover reached USD 44 billion; Japan invested USD 3.2 billion in Vietnam.

People-to-people exchanges and educational and cultural cooperation are emphasized and promoted. The Vietnamese community in Japan includes more than 520,000 people, including nearly 40,000 students. In 2023, the two sides organized big cultural exchange and cooperation activities to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations in both countries. Festivals such as the Vietnam Festival in Japan, the Vietnam Festival in Kanagawa, Saitama, Aichi, and Nagoya, the Japan Festival in Vietnam, the Kanagawa Festival in Hanoi, and the Hokkaido Festival in Ha Long, attract hundreds of thousands of attendees from both countries. The opera "Princess Anio" performed on the occasion of the anniversary was highly appreciated by public opinion, contributing to strengthening the sincere sentiments, trust, and mutual understanding between the two peoples.

In the past year, exchanges and cooperation among localities were a bright spot. More than 40 delegations of Vietnamese local leaders visited Japan and more than 10 Japanese delegations went to Vietnam. Many localities of the two countries have close relations and signed cooperation agreements in various fields, creating new momentum for the bilateral relations.

Tourism saw a strong recovery. In 2023, more than 550,000 Vietnamese tourists came to Japan, surpassing the record of 495,000 in 2019 (before the Covid-19 pandemic). The number of Japanese tourists coming to Vietnam was equivalent.

"It can be said that 2023 opens a new page in the two countries' relations, laying the foundation for the relations for many years to come," said Ambassador Pham Quang Hieu.

Specify the content of the cooperation

On the good momentum of bilateral relations, Ambassador Pham Quang Hieu set a goal that in 2024, the Embassy will closely coordinate with ministries and units of the two countries to implement high-level agreements reached during President Vo Van Thuong's visit (November 2023) and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's visit (December 2023); concretize the content of the Joint Declaration to upgrade the Japan-Vietnam relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia and the world; promoting the two countries' relations to a new phase of development that is more substantive, effective, and extensive.

The Ambassador stressed the need to continue to strengthen trustworthy, effective, and substantive political relations and build close relationships between senior leaders, sectors, and people of the two countries.

The Vietnamese Embassy in Japan will focus on economic diplomacy; improve quality, bring economic cooperation into depth, substance, and effectiveness; promote investment, trade, and technology transfer; and promote cooperation in new fields such as digital transformation, green transformation, and high-quality infrastructure. The Embassy will also strengthen cooperation in training and developing high-quality human resources to contribute to the socio-economic development of the two countries.

Citizen protection will continue to be a focus in 2024. The Embassy looks to join hands in building a united and strong Vietnamese community in Japan. “We also promote the spirit of cooperation in security, defense, science and technology, education and training, culture, and people-to-people exchanges, especially promoting relations between the two countries' localities to consolidate the foundation for the comprehensive strategic partnership," Ambassador Pham Quang Hieu said.

Stand side by side in all circumstances

On the first day of 2024, Japan suffered a severe earthquake with the epicenter in the Noto peninsula, Ishikawa province, causing tremendous damage to people and property. According to Ambassador Pham Quang Hieu, with the readiness to respond to major earthquakes, and careful preparation for disasters, the Japanese government and people have once again stunned the world because of their discipline, composure, and resilience.

Even in extremely difficult moments, even in places heavily affected by the earthquake, there was no information about chaos or disorder. Even though many people lost their homes, had no electricity or water, and lacked food, they still strictly followed the instructions of the local government and did not panic. Instead, they helped each other to overcome the disaster.

"This is a very important factor, helping to minimize human and property damage, helping the government and people quickly overcome the consequences and soon return to normal life," said Ambassador Pham Quang Hieu.

On the afternoon of January 1, the Embassy established a working group under the Ambassador's direct management to coordinate the situation of the Vietnamese community affected by earthquakes. During the past few days, the working group has closely watched the situation, regularly updating relevant information; and directly going to the affected areas in Ishikawa province to visit and encourage the people.

The Embassy has worked with the central and local governments and companies to receive affected Vietnamese workers. The Embassy has cooperated with Japanese authorities to protect people's lives and put safety above all else. It has accompanied businesses and localities to help Vietnamese workers stabilize their work and life. The Vietnamese community in Japan has held practical activities to support people in earthquake-affected areas.


Author: Valerie Mai

Source: Vietnamtimes

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