Viet Nam News
QUẢNG NAM — This year will mark the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Việt Nam and Japan, and the 15th landmark of the relationship between the Land of the Rising Sun and the central province of Quảng Nam.
The close friendship between Quảng Nam and Japan has been well promoted since the first Japanese Cultural Day was held in the ancient town of Hội An in 2002.
Quảng Nam is the only province in Việt Nam to boast two UNESCO-recognised world heritage sites – Hội An and the Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary – as well as the world biosphere Chàm Island-Hội An reserve.
Hội An has over 1,000 houses between 100 and 200 years old, 60 of which were built following typical Japanese architectural styles.
The city and the Tokyo Shirubakai Art Troupe officially opened free Japanese language and culture lessons for primary school students in 2017.
Director of Hội An’s Culture and Sports Centre, Võ Phùng, said the project aimed to boost cultural exchanges between the younger generations in Hội An and Japan.
Hội An and Naha, the capital of Okinawa Prefecture, have been working on an Eco-City Achievement Support Project with the aim of boosting Hội An as an eco-tourist location.
Deputy Chairman of Hội An People’s Committee Nguyễn Văn Sơn said the project had helped train the staff on management skills and gave them experience with wastewater treatment, garbage classification at source and rubbish treatment in Naha.
Researcher Võ Hồng Việt said there were 40 Japanese tombs in Hội An, but the three in Cẩm Châu Commune were the largest and easiest to access from Hội An.
"We have been working with Japanese researchers in our search for information about their relatives in Japan for years, but we have yet to find any descendants," Việt said.
According to the city’s centre of heritage management and conservation, Tani Yajirobei is believed to have died in 1647, and his records include the oldest and clearest information related to his life, including a love affair with a local woman.
Reiko Usuda, a retired odontology technician, opened a café in the ancient town as a way to boost the friendship between Japan and Hội An.
Reiko and her partners from the Japan-Việt Nam Friendship Association in Kawasaki City have worked tirelessly to help underprivileged children in Quảng Nam and the central region through their bicycle donation programme with more than 12,000 bikes since 2003.
Reiko said she used had inheritance money from her mother to bring the Japanese Phiharmonic Orchestra quartet to Hội An and Đà Nẵng and develop future cultural and arts exchanges between Việt Nam and Japan.
"The friendly and helpful people in Hội An are the reason that I decided to live here. I fell completely in love with this town the very first time I visited," said Reiko.
"Hội An is a lovely city.”
She said she opened the cafe with its well-run wastewater system to raise awareness of environmental protection.
Genta Miagawa from Osaka also makes his living from a restaurant in the town’s Old Quarter.
He fell in love with the quiet and festive life in the old town in 2010.
Genta was fascinated with the lifestyle and landscape of the ancient town.
“Hội An has a piece of ancient Japanese cultural and architectural influences that runs in tandem with women carrying baskets of food slowly along the Hoài River,” Genta said.
Japan’s Mazda Motor Corporation was the first Japanese carmaker to set up shop with a local partner, Trường Hải Automobile JSC (Thaco), in 2011.
According to the Việt Nam Automobile Manufacturers Association, about 100,000 Mazda cars have been delivered to customers in Việt Nam since the brand started being locally manufactured in 2011, and Mazda is now the second best-selling Japanese car brand in Việt Nam.
The Japanese car maker has decided to promote its co-operation with Thaco by putting a new plant for auto exports into operation in the Chu Lai-Trường Hải Industrial Complex, at a total investment of US$380 million.
The new Mazda plant is expected to produce 100,000 Mazda cars per year with a localisation ratio of 44 per cent.
The Japanese car maker is also boosting links with Thaco in the production of spare parts and accessories.
In 2016, Quảng Nam Province officially launched the Chu Lai-Hiroshima sea route – the first of its kind to Japan and the second in Asia.
Director of Chu Lai Open Economic Zone Authority (EZA) Đỗ Xuân Diện said that the new sea route would host the first cargo ship next year, offering logistics service for the new Mazda automobile manufacturing plant in the Chu Lai-Trường Hải Industrial Complex in Núi Thành District.
The debut of a new sea route would be part of crucial preparations for the investment flows anticipated from Japan in the coming years, Diện said.
He said the EZA, which is one of the five coastal economic zones in the country, was designed for textile, garment and supporting industries, besides automobiles, logistics and exports.
In 2018, Route Inn, one of the biggest tourism property groups in Japan, opened its first five-star resort in Quảng Nam as part of a project to build 50 luxury hotels in Việt Nam by 2025, according to Katsutoshi Nagayama, the group’s president.
Quảng Nam Province and Nagasaki have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on co-operation, education and investment which will be reaffirmed during the Japanese Cultural Days in Quảng Nam from August 17-19.
Governor of Nagasaki Houdou Nakamura said he anticipated further co-operation in the fields of human resources, education, investment and heritage preservation, and more cultural exchange visits between the two sides.
The central province has attracted six investment projects from Japan worth US$52 million, of which $36.6 million came from Vina-Mazda automobile maker.
Japan has provided $366 million in Official Development Assistance for the province’s development projects. — VNS