A ceremony to mark the 36 th anniversary of Vietnam-Japan diplomatic ties (Sept. 21, 1973-2009) was held in Hanoi on September 19 by the Vietnam-Japan Friendship Association.

Among guests were Ho Duc Viet, Politburo member, Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Commission of Organisation and President of the Vietnam-Japan Parliamentarians’ Friendship Group, Deputy Foreign Minister Ho Xuan Son, President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations Vu Xuan Hong and Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Sakaba Matsuo.

The Vietnam-Japan relationship has continuously developed over the past years despite the ups and downs of the regional and world political and economic situation. The two countries have regularly exchanged high-ranking delegations in an effort to raise the bilateral ties to a new level of development.

The year 2009 is marked by major developments in the two countries’ relation with an official Vietnam visit by Japanese Prince Naruhito in February and Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh’s official visit to Japan in April, followed by a visit by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. During these visits, the two sides reached agreement on expanding cooperation on the basis of a strategic partnership.

PM Dung is scheduled to visit Japan in November 2010 to attend the Summit of Japan and Mekong sub-region countries.

Despite the global economic crisis and its difficulties, Japan still pledged greater ODA loans for Vietnam to implement large-scale projects such as the North-South Express Railway, the North-South Expressway, the Hoa Lac Hi-tech Park, and transport infrastructure projects in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City .

The Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement will also become effective from October 1, 2009.

In addition, Vietnam and Japan have regularly organised cultural exchanges in order to strengthen mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

On the occasion, the Vietnam-Japan Friendship Association launched the Vietnam-Japan Business Club, which aims to boost cooperation between the two countries’ businesses./.