Viet Nam and Japan established diplomatic ties on September 21, 1973, upgrading bilateral ties to Strategic Partnership in 2009, and to Extensive Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity in Asia in 2014.
Japan was the first G7 member inviting a Vietnamese Party General Secretary to visit the country (1995), establishing strategic partnership with Viet Nam, recognizing Viet Nam’s market economy status (2011), and inviting Viet Nam to an expanded G7 Summit (in May 2016).
Both countries are now enjoying the best stage of the relationship thanks to regular exchanges of visits and contacts at regional and international forums.
For Japanese side, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made four visits to Viet Nam since 2006, Crown Prince Naruhito, who is current Emperor of Japan, pay an official visit to Viet Nam in February 2009 and Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Viet Nam in 2017.
The two sides set up several cooperation mechanisms like Cooperation Committee (led by two foreign ministers) in 2007, Strategic Dialogue on diplomacy-security-defense at deputy foreign ministerial level in 2010, Defense Policy Dialogue at deputy ministerial level in 2012, Security Dialogue at deputy ministerial level in 2013, Joint Committee for Cooperation in Industry, Trade and Energy in 2014, and Agriculture Dialogue at ministerial level in 2014.
Japan is the biggest provider of official development assisstance for Viet Nam (US$23.76 billion as of January 2019) and the second largest investor with accommulative capital of US$60.36 billion as of September 2019.
The Northeast Asian country is the one of major trading partner of Viet Nam with the two-way trade value rising 5.6% to US$29.16 billion in the first nine months this year, in which Viet Nam’s exports grew by 8% to US$14.98 billion.
Both sides also signed a Medium-long Term Vision on Agricultural Cooperation in 2015 and a Memorandum of Understanding on acceptance of Vietnamese candidates for nurses and care workers, and technical intern trainees.
On education, Japan has been one of favorite destinations for Vietnamese students as the total reached 80,683 as of June last year. The Northeast Asian country is cooperating with Viet Nam to upgrade four universities in a bid to help promote the development of high-quality workforce.
Regarding tourism, the number of Japanese visitors to Viet Nam reached 389,100 in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 26% from 2017. The figure rose by 18% to 620,731 in the first eight months this year.
On par with growing ties, Japan opened Consulate General in the leading economic engine of Ho Chi Minh City and planned to Consulate Office in the central city of Da Nang earlier next year.
Viet Nam offered unilateral visa exemption for Japanese citizens who travel to Viet Nam for tourist and business purposes since January 1, 2004 and this policy has been applied to all Japanese citizens since July 1, 2004.
The bilateral ties have also been promoted thanks to growing local-to-local cooperation. By now, more than 40 localities of the two countries have signed cooperative agremeents./.
By Quang Minh
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