|Majestic: Mountain Fuji and cherry blossoms in spring. — Photo courtesy of Fujiyoshida City and JNTO
As you all know, this year started with the inaugurations of three major projects supported by Japanese ODA: Noi Bai International Airport Terminal 2, Nhat Tan Bridge (Viet Nam-Japan Friendship Bridge) and the connecting road between them, which have become a symbol of Japan-Viet Nam friendship and co-operation.
The new international terminal at Noi Bai Airport completed with Japan's assistance has been serving as a gateway not only for Vietnamese people but also for visitors from around the world.
Also, as the Ambassador of Japan, I have been very pleased to see that the new terminal has been the arrival and departure point for active coming and going of high level officials between Japan and Viet Nam, including the official visit of Viet Nam's Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to Japan in September 2015.
Since I arrived in Viet Nam as Ambassador, more than two years have passed, but I often renew my thinking that the people of Japan and Viet Nam have an affinity with a common sensitivity based on the long history of exchanges between the two countries.
Japanese and Vietnamese cultures also have various similarities. For example, as Vietnamese people love drinking tea, it is also a national drink in Japan. Like the court tea in Viet Nam, there is a Japanese tea ceremony, the way of drinking green tea in Japan. Traditional music and dance of our countries also often give us some nostalgic feelings.
In recent years, besides traditional culture and art, Japan's pop and modern cultures have been widely enjoyed by Vietnamese people. When a Japanese street dance group performed in Ha Noi this spring, I was surprised to see how the young audience was excited by the show.
When I look back at my activities as Ambassador, I was able to visit various provinces across Viet Nam and hold exchanges with local people. For instance, last May, I visited Da Lat in Lam Dong Province in the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands). There, I was very encouraged to see Vietnamese people working hand-in-hand together with Japanese people to enhance agricultural development in the region.
Today the relationship between the two nations has deepened in a variety of fields, such as politics, security, economics, culture and people-to-people exchanges under the banner of an "Extensive Strategic Partnership". As Ambassador, I have renewed my determination to do my best to further expand our countries' friendly relationship in the coming years.
In concluding my message on the occasion of His Majesty's birthday, I sincerely wish for peace and stability in the region and the world, as well as good health for everyone in celebrating the new year of 2016. — VNS