Viet Nam News
On the occasion of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan’s 83th birthday, the Việt Nam News presents an article written by H.E. Kunio Umeda, Japan’s Ambassador to Việt Nam.
Today, December 23, His Majesty the Emperor of Japan turns 83 years old. On this occasion, as the Ambassador of Japan, I would like to remark that since I assumed my duties in Hà Nội in early November, I feel extremely fortunate to serve as my country’s envoy. There are two reasons for that.
First, Việt Nam is developing dynamically while maintaining political and social stability. The average age of the Vietnamese population is 30 years old and the Vietnamese society is vibrant and hopeful. Việt Nam faces various issues, such as widespread corruption and gaps between rich and poor, but yet the country looks ahead with a positive attitude.
Second, the Japan-Việt Nam relationship is now at its best. Thankfully, a strong relationship with mutual trust has been established between the leaders, and a strong sense of closeness is shared by the people of the two countries. Japan and Việt Nam also share a number of strategic interests. As a result, the number of people exchanges in various fields is growing, including politics, security, economy, education, culture, sports and tourism. The relationship between the two countries has been steadily improved.
For instance, the number of Japanese nationals in Việt Nam has increased approximately four fold in the past decade, and is now approximately 15,000. The number of Vietnamese in Japan has increased by approximately four times in the past five years, exceeding 180,000. Today, some 700,000 Japanese visitors come to Việt Nam every year, 1.5 times more than five years ago; while some 200,000 Vietnamese visitors come to Japan a year, 4.5 times more than five years ago. In recent years, Việt Nam has ranked as one of the top targets for Japanese investment.
Collaboration in culture and sports is also expanding. Major cultural events such as the Japan-Việt Nam Festival in Hồ Chí Minh City, the Japan Cherry Blossom Festival in Hà Nội and the Hội An-Japan Festival, have been expanding in both size and contents every year thanks to the efforts of the organisers. In the area of sports, we hope to strengthen exchanges between Japan and Việt Nam, keeping in mind the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Next year marks an important new page in the history of the Japan-Việt Nam relationship. Their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress of Japan are expected to pay their first visit to Việt Nam next spring. Prime Minister Abe’s official visit to Việt Nam and Prime Minister Phúc’s official visit Japan are also expected next year. The Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Summit to be held in Đà Nẵng next November is important for Việt Nam as the host country. Japan will co-operate on all fronts for the success of APEC 2017 in Việt Nam.
In concluding my message on the occasion of His Majesty’s birthday, I sincerely wish that the year 2017 will bring further development for Việt Nam, as well as good health for everyone. — VNS