|Stronger ties: The Việt Nam-Japan Cultural Exchange Festival 2018 in Đà Nẵng celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Japan-Việt Nam diplomatic relationship. — Photo courtesy of the Embassy of Japan in Việt Nam.
This year commemorates the 45th anniversary of the Japan-Việt Nam diplomatic relationship, and tomorrow on 23rd December, His Majesty the Emperor of Japan will turn 85 years old. On this occasion, as Ambassador of Japan, I would like to send Việt Nam News readers a message. His Majesty the Emperor of Japan will step down from the throne on April 30, 2019 and a new Emperor will ascend to the imperial throne the next day.
The first visit to Việt Nam by Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan in 2017 provided fresh breath to Japan-Việt Nam relations. Afterwards, at a summit meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc in Japan, it was agreed the two countries would celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationship in order to make full use of the “momentum” born during the visit of Their Majesties and to deepen mutual understanding.
To realise the agreement, on the Japanese side, an organising committee consisting of the Embassy, the Consulate-General, government organisations, chambers of commerce and Japanese schools was set up in August 2017 and started preparations such as calling for proposals for the 45th anniversary logo. Within the Vietnamese government, Prime Minister Phúc himself instructed ministries to plan commemorative events.
In January 2018, the Japan-Việt Nam Festival in Hồ Chí Minh City kicked off the 45th anniversary. More than 240 commemorative events have been held in both countries throughout the year, including a State Visit to Japan by late President Trần Đại Quang and Mrs. Nguyễn Thị Hiền last May. Through the series of these events, I am confident that mutual understanding and close affinity between Japan and Việt Nam, from a leadership level to grassroots, has deepened more than ever. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone concerned for their efforts.
Today, Japan and Việt Nam share many strategic interests, and relationships are becoming closer in a wide range of fields. The sustainable development of Việt Nam is very important for the stability and prosperity of the East Asia region as a whole. As an “Extensive Strategic Partner” to Việt Nam, Japan hopes to strengthen co-operation with Việt Nam in all fields, including politics, security, economics, culture and sports.
There are currently about 300,000 Vietnamese living and working in Japan to help address severe labour shortages due to a declining birthrate and aging population. Unfortunately, there are dishonest sending organisations and Japanese language schools, among others, that exploit young Vietnamese workers who visit Japan. There is an urgent need to strengthen measures against such situations.
Regarding sports, Việt Nam’s U23 men’s football team impressed by finishing runners-up at the 2018 AFC Asian Championships in January this year. In addition, Việt Nam’s victory at the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup a few days ago also raised the “spirits” and “sense of unity” in Việt Nam. In 2020, the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held in Tokyo. I sincerely hope that as many Vietnamese players as possible, including footballer, will participate at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
This year, three esteemed figures who greatly contributed to strengthening the Japan-Việt Nam relationship passed away: H.E. Mr. Phan Huy Lê, the President of The Historical Society of Vietnam; H.E. Mr. Trần Đại Quang, former President; and H.E. Mr. Đỗ Mười, former General Secretary. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and condolences to these three great figures.
In concluding my message, I sincerely wish you all good health and I hope for further development of the Japan-Việt Nam relationship. — VNS