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Vietnam-Japan ties taken to new high

Publication Date : 19-03-2014


Japan and Vietnam have decided to elevate bilateral relations into an "extensive strategic partnership." This was announced in a joint statement issued in Tokyo yesterday after a meeting between President Truong Tan Sang and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

In a speech at the National Diet (parliament), Sang thanked the Japanese government for its continued assistance to Vietnam, as he noted that the relationship between the two countries started way back in the eight century, when a Vietnamese Buddhist monk named Phat Triet carried out missionary work in Japan

The Vietnamese President also thanked Japan for providing assistance to clear unexploded ordnance and landmines through the Japan Asean Integration Fund (JAIF).

Bearing in mind the need to enhance maritime law-enforcement agencies in Vietnam, Abe announced the dispatch of a survey team to Vietnam at an early date for discussions.

During their meeting, the Vietnamese delegation proposed an early commencement of negotiations on treaties on mutual legal assistance, extradition, and the transfer of people sentenced under the law. The Japanese panel, for its part, expressed hope that Vietnam would consider joining multilateral treaties, including the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters.

Vietnam and Japan shared the intention to continue working closely for the effective implementation of the Memorandum on Bilateral Defense Cooperation and Exchanges signed in 2011; continue implementing the Vietnam - Japan Defense Policy Dialogue at vice-ministerial level; enhance the exchange of delegations at various levels, including ministerial level, senior official level and expert level; promote cooperation between the respective services of the Vietnam People's Army and the Japan Self-Defense Forces, and advance cooperation in such fields as human resource development, capacity building and visits of military ships.

Japan said it would continue working with Vietnam in six key areas under the Vietnam- Japan cooperation framework until 2020 with a vision to 2030. These are agro-fishery processing, electronics, automobiles and parts, agricultural machinery, the environmental industry, energy conservation, and shipbuilding. The Japanese government said Vietnam continued to be an important partner for Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA), as Sang expressed appreciation for the signing of the Exchange of Notes for the second half of fiscal year 2013. This involved five projects in Vietnam worth 120 billion yen (1.18 billion dollars).

The two countries agreed to strengthen cooperation in promoting the development and operation of infrastructure in Vietnam, to cover railways, roads, seaports, key airports, water supplies and sewerage systems and water-resource development. Japan said it was committed to continue cooperating with Vietnam on improving its North-South railway system and the construction of urban railways.

They also agreed on the effective implementation of the Vietnam Automated Cargo Clearance System and Vietnam Customs Intelligent Database System (VNACCS/VCIS) project and decided to actively promote public-private partnership in response to big demands for infrastructure.

The two countries vowed to continue to cooperate on the implementation of the Vietnam – Japan Joint Initiative, Phase 5, on improving Vietnam's investment climate to promote Japanese investment in Vietnam, and to double two-way trade by 2020.

As Vietnam expressed appreciation for the relaxation of procedures on Vietnamese shrimp and fruit exportation to Japan, the Japanese government welcomed the open-market policy of Vietnam for Japan apples.

The two sides welcomed the signing of the Record of Discussion on Cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan yesterday.

On the project involving a second nuclear power plant in Ninh Thuan Province, the two sides confirmed they would continue to work together for its implementation. They also agreed to work on the implementation of a model project on generating power from industrial waste in Ha Noi, which is being carried out by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (Nedo).

The Japanese government said it was committed to continue extending assistance to enable Vietnam to respond to climate change.

As regards eco-city development, Vietnam and Japan agreed to coordinate for the effective implementation of the Memorandum of Cooperation for Promoting Implementation of Eco-city Project in Vietnam which was signed in October 2013.

The Japanese said they would provide continued support to Vietnam in capacity building and improvement of legal systems covering urban development.

Sang noted the signing yesterday of a memorandum of cooperation in the field of health care between Vietnam's Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan, as he thanked Japan for its continued support for Vietnam's health sector. The two countries agreed to enhance cooperation between their respective agencies handling social security and social welfare. This includes sharing Japan's experience in public-health insurance and preparations for an ageing society.

Both sides said they recognised the importance of cooperation in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, including cancer and lifestyle diseases. They also welcomed cooperative achievements in human resource development in health care.

The two sides decided to pursue to hold the Fourth Vietnam – Japan Joint Committee on Science and Technology at the earliest possible time in Vietnam. The Vietnamese said they appreciated Japan's support for capacity building for Vietnamese science and technology institutions.

They said they intended to promote joint research projects and training of students and experts within the frameworks of the Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development and the e-Asia Joint Research Program.

The two sides welcomed the signing of a Strategic Cooperation Programme on education between the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.

The Japanese said they would actively support Vietnam in human-resource development, assist in the promotion of Japanese language education and help the development of Vietnam's vocational skills.

The two sides decided to strengthen the development of human resources and legal frameworks related to the construction sector. This was in line with the implementation of a document signed in June last year.

They also welcomed the fact that the first batch of eligible Vietnamese nurses and certified care-workers would arrive in Japan in June and confirmed they would aim for the smooth and effective acceptance of future candidates. Sang said he was hoping Japan would also accept technical interns from Vietnam in the areas of agriculture and fisheries, processing of agricultrual and fishery products and construction.

The two sides said they intended to accelerate discussions on the establishment of a dialogue framework to promote cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges.

Japan and Vietnam also vowed to promote tourism between the two countries, with Sang welcoming the relaxation of visa requirements by Japan last July and Abe expressing appreciation for the unilateral visa exemption extended by Vietnam to Japan in 2004.

The two sides reaffirmed that they would strengthen cooperation at regional and international forums, including the United Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation Forum (Apec), the Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem), the East Asia Summit (EAS), Asean+3, Asean Defence Minister's Meeting Plus (ADMM+) and the Asean Regional Forum (ARF).


The Vietnamese welcomed Abe's initiative to consult with Asean countries on holding an informal meeting between Japan and Asean, which would involve ministers in charge of defence, on security issues, including disaster prevention.

Abe, for his part, welcomed the idea that Vietnam was considering convening a third Expanded Asean Maritime Forum this year.

The two sides said they intended to work closely in negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Prime Minister Abe praised Vietnam's efforts towards settling issues, including those in the area of maritime security based on the principle of the rule of law.



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