|Blossoming: Horyuji Temple in the Nara Prefecture, Japan. — Photo courtesy of Japan's Embassy in Ha Noi.
The Year 2013, the Japan-Viet Nam Friendship Year, is drawing to a close.
Many events were held successfully, both in Viet Nam and Japan, throughout the year, giving us an opportunity to deepen our exchanges and know each other better.
I would like to extend my deep gratitude to those who have co-operated and participated in making this commemorative year success as it has been.
From my experience in various countries as a diplomat, I have learned one common lesson. Country-to-country relations are based on people-to-people relationships. Thus, deepening exchanges between people is essential for enhancing friendship between Japan and other countries. It is through people-to-people exchanges that we will get to know, be interested in, understand, and share different cultures.
A bond cultivated in this process leads to country-to-country friendship and relations of trust.
The Japan-Viet Nam relationship is no exception. People of both countries have nurtured friendships for a long time – even before the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1973, as you can see in the story of friendship between Phan Boi Chau and Asaba Sakitaro a hundred years ago.
Such exchanges in history have strengthened the Japan-Viet Nam relationship and developed it to the best one ever.
Our task is to maintain and further advance this finely developed relationship. This cannot happen without the energy of and co-operation from young people.
The future of Japan-Viet Nam relations can be created only by the younger generations of both countries knowing, thinking, feeling with each other, and then cultivating friendship.
I want Vietnamese youth to know more about Japan. Japanese youth, on the other hand, should get more interested in Viet Nam. This is my wish and the goal I want to achieve.
Needless to say, the relationship between our countries will not end when the Japan-Viet Nam Friendship Year closes.
This commemorative year is an opportunity to ensure that the bond between the two countries, derived through efforts by our predecessors, opens up a new age in Japan-Viet Nam relations.
I am willing to do my very best to work with you and pass our strong bonds to the next generation. — VNS