Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has arrived in Hanoi to begin his two-day visit to Vietnam, his 1st trip to the Southeast Asian country since taking office in October 2021.
The visit to Vietnam reiterates the strong relationship and mutual trust between Vietnam and Japan as it came five months after the visit to Japan paid by Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in November 2021.
It’s also a visit paid by an old friend of Vietnam as PM Kishida made several trips to the country when he was Japanese Foreign Minister. His bond with Vietnam is strong as he is also current Secretary General of the Vietnam-Japan Parliamentarians’ Friendship League and maintains amicable ties with PM Pham Minh Chinh.
Former Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong said Vietnam and Japan respect each other’s roles. Japan considers Vietnam an important partner in the Indo-Pacific region. Meanwhile, Vietnamese leaders have repeatedly affirmed that Japan is the most important partner.
Through this visit, Kishida hoped to strengthen cooperation with other countries towards realizing the “free and open Indo-Pacific”, according to the Embassy of Japan in Vietnam.
|Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (C) arrives at Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi on Saturday afternoon [April 30]. Photo: VNA|
Destination of investment
Vietnam appears to be a good choice and a safe destination for Japan’s investors. Businessmen who are working in Vietnam are betting on success in the market while others express optimism about the better business environment and plan to come in.
According to Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Yamada Takio, in the context that investment activities around the world were limited by the Covid-19 pandemic, Japanese businesses remained interested and eager to invest in Vietnam.
The “Vietnam-Japan Investment Promotion Conference” held during PM Chinh’s visit to Japan in November 2021 attracted the participation of approximately 1,000 people both in-person and online.
At the event, 45 memorandums of understanding (MOU) worth up to US$12 billion were inked. In spite of the pandemic, Japanese businesses’ appetite for investment in Vietnam is growing stronger as Vietnam has been a reliable option for their global supply chain diversification, growth potential, political stability, good human resources, and cultural attachment between Vietnam and Japan.
In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), Yamada Takio highly appreciated Vietnam’s strong commitment to green growth and carbon emission reduction which was made by PM Chinh at the 26th Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) in November 2021. In this regard, Vietnam and Japan signed a “Joint Plan of Action on Climate Change” towards Vietnam’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.
He said Japan will promote comprehensive cooperation in policy, technology, and finance.
Under the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) between the two countries, the Japanese Government will provide financial support for Vietnam to invest in facilities that use Japanese technology, contributing to a circular economy and zero carbon in Vietnam. To date, 40 JCM projects have been approved and Japan will continue to foster cooperation in this field in the coming time, according to the ambassador.
Meanwhile, Motoyoshi Ryokichi, former general secretary of the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Association, said the exchange of visits by top leaders of both countries over the past time has demonstrated their close relationship.
With the visit to Japan in November 2021, PM Chinh became Kishida’s first foreign visitor only one month after the Japanese PM took office.
In late 2020, Kishida’s predecessor Suga Yoshihide chose Vietnam as the first destination on his first overseas trip.
Ryokichi told VNA that the bilateral relations have room for improvement, mostly in investment, trade, and human resources. He said Japan with an aging population has a strong demand for manpower and Vietnam is the biggest supplier of technical interns. He noted that Vietnamese laborers leave a good impression for being smart, hard-working and having good skills.
From perspective of a legal advisor, Ryokichi said both sides need to improve conditions for better cooperation in human resources. Accordingly, Japanese firms need to offer better working conditions and environment for Vietnamese laborers while the Vietnamese employees need to improve Japanese proficiency and skills in certain sectors.
In 2023, the two countries will commemorate the 50 years of diplomatic ties and he hoped it’s a good chance for both countries to boost understanding and contributions to the comprehensive relations.
Vietnam-Japan relations in multilateral mechanism
Ambassador Takio said the Vietnam-Japan relations have been strengthened partly thanks to their cooperation in international forums, affirming their strategic partnership in the regional and international agendas.
The tightened cooperation has been affirmed in the Joint Statement Toward a Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity in Asia and their bilateral projects.
Since PM Pham Minh Chinh’s visit to Japan, the cooperation has expanded from bilateral economic ties to politics and security, as well as on regional and international issues, ambassador Takio emphasized.