Fuji Mountain, a symbol of Japan. Photo courtesy of Shizuoka Prefectural Tourism Association
On February 23, His Majesty the Emperor of Japan will turn 60. On this occasion, Ambassador of Japan Kunio Umeda sends Việt Nam News readers a message to celebrate.
On May 1 last year, Japan started a new imperial era, “Reiwa”. His Majesty visited various cities in Việt Nam including Hà Nội, Đà Nẵng, Hội An, Huế, HCM City and Mỹ Tho in February 2009 as the Crown Prince.
I would like to extend my sincere appreciation for the congratulatory messages left by many Vietnamese people in the Book of Celebrations to celebrate the ascension of the new Emperor. Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc also attended the Enthronement Ceremony which was held in Tokyo last October.
Prime Minister Phúc had talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo during his visit to Osaka to attend the G20 Summit in June. In November, the Japan - Việt Nam Summit was held in Bangkok.
Although there were more than twenty issues that needed to be settled, in the four months between these two summits, the majority of them have been resolved, including the resumption of the development projects based on Japanese ODA loans.
In recent years, the macroeconomic situation in Việt Nam has grown strongly, and th country is brimming with great energy for development. The amount of investment from Japan to Việt Nam hit record highs of US$9.1 billion in 2017 and $8.6 billion in 2018. This year's investment approved by Japan is lower than previous years due to the lack of large projects, but Japanese firms continue to show a strong interest in Việt Nam.
Today, Japan is facing a serious labour shortage due to an ageing population and declining birthrate. Approximately 370,000 Vietnamese living in Japan are contributing considerably to addressing this issue and supporting Japan’s economy. Japan would like to express its gratitude to the Vietnamese people for their support.
In January 2020, Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi and Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Sanae Takaichi visited Hà Nội. Moreover, the Secretary General of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Japan Toshihiro Nikai led a delegation of 1,000 people to Đà Nẵng and Quảng Nam Province for economic, cultural, and tourism exchanges. In addition, the Consular Office of Japan in Đà Nẵng was opened on January 6. The exchange of people between Japan and Việt Nam, from leaders to citizens, has been promoted.
This year, Việt Nam plays significant dual roles as ASEAN Chair and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Japan will co-operate more closely with Việt Nam under the “extensive strategic partnership”, not only to enhance bilateral relations, but also to cope with regional and international affairs.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will take place from July to September. At the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines, Vietnamese athletes performed brilliantly. I strongly hope that as many athletes from Việt Nam as possible will take part in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. There are eight locations (Kushiro City, Fukushima City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Hokota City, Kokubunji City, Mimasaka City, Kudamatsu City, Saiki City, and Nagasaki Prefecture which are ready to receive the athletes from Việt Nam.
Since just before the Tết holiday, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus has hit China and exerted an overwhelming influence on people’s health and economic activities globally.
To respond to this issue, as part of co-operation between the two countries, Japan has offered technical assistance for Việt Nam through the International Co-operation Agency (JICA), National Institute of Infectious Disease, and Institute of Tropical Medicine at Nagasaki University. Japan will further enhance co-operation with Việt Nam to minimise and overcome the impacts of the outbreak.
With careful consideration of the current situation and the possibility of widespread infections, unfortunately, the Emperor’s Birthday Reception this year has been cancelled. Nonetheless, Việt Nam News gives me this great opportunity to convey my message to all of you. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Việt Nam News.
Finally, I sincerely wish you all good health and happiness, and I hope for the further enhancement of the Japan - Việt Nam relationship. VNS
Japanese Ambassador Umeda Kunio (centre) posed with Việt Nam National Women Football Team on July 23, last year before the team went to Japan to practise for SEA Games 2019. Photo courtesy of the embassy