Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will pay a State visit to Việt Nam for the first time, from February 28-March 5. — VNA/VNS Photo
TOKYO — The first ever visit to Việt Nam by a Japanese Emperor and Empress is a historical event of great significance that will reinforce mutual trust and friendship, says a senior Japanese official.
Speaking to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) ahead of the historic visit, Hatsuhisa Takashima, press secretary to Emperor Akihito, recalled the long-standing relationship between the two countries.
The relationship dates back to the 16th century with the presence of the first Japanese street in Việt Nam, he said.
The visit by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko is happening at a time when bilateral rapport is at its best after undergoing historical ups and downs, he said.
Takashima noted that Việt Nam and Japan were carrying out many activities to strengthen amity.
He said that as the biggest aid provider for Việt Nam, Japan has been co-operating with the Southeast Asian country to support its development.
He cited as examples the donation of maritime patrol vessels, building of the Việt Nam–Japan University, and the active operation of Japanese businesses in Việt Nam.
Effective bilateral co-operation in economics, human resources training and infrastructure improvement have contributed to the good relationship between the two countries, Takashima said.
He said the Japanese Emperor and Empress were touched by the warm invitations from Vietnamese leaders, adding that the visit is one of the most-awaited events for the people and political circles in both countries.
Việt Nam’s Ambassador to Japan, Nguyễn Quốc Cường, said that the visit of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to Việt Nam, beginning tomorrow, will be an important landmark in Việt Nam-Japan relations.
Cường said both the Emperor and Empress were looking forward to the trip.
He echoed press secretary Takashima, saying the first trip of the Emperor to Việt Nam since the two countries established diplomatic relations 44 years ago was a historic and important landmark in the relationship.
Mutual trust has brought both countries closer to each other, he said.
A keen interest in history and culture was the main reason for the Japanese Royalty to visit Huế City in the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế, Cường said.
The Emperor and Empress have expressed their admiration for the “Nhã Nhạc (ceremonial music) of the Huế Court, which was recognised in 2003 by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and is being performed in Japan’s Royal Palace.
Japan has given a lot of assistance to the renovation of historic sites, in the Huế citadel, Cường noted.
He further said that the visit was a manifestation of growth in bilateral relations that will also take them to new heights. — VNS