Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has stated that he is hopeful of the growing Vietnam-Japan relations, which has laid an important foundation for more effective and far-reaching cooperation.

In an interview granted to the media on the occasion of the 40 th anniversary of Vietnam-Japan diplomatic ties (September 21), FM Minh noted with pleasure that both nations have become important partners in the fields of politics, diplomacy, economics, trade, investment, development assistance, human resources development, science-technology, culture, and people-to-people exchange.

Politically, bilateral friendship has been consolidated and lifted to a new height. Vietnam and Japan upgraded their ties to a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia in 2009.

High-ranking leaders maintained the regular exchange of visits to strengthen political trust and direct orientations and concrete steps for stronger links. Along with the Vietnam-Japan Cooperation Committee, dialogue mechanisms in areas of cooperation have been established while links among ministries and departments have become effective and practical.

Both sides have actively worked together at regional and global forums like the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the Mekong – Japan cooperation, he noted.

Economically, Japan is among Vietnam’s most important partners with over 1,900 valid projects worth more than 32. 6 trillion USD, focusing on processing and engineering industry.

It is also Vietnam’s biggest supplier of official development assistance (ODA). Since 1992, the country has offered nearly 21 billion USD in ODA to Vietnam, or 30 percent of the total ODA granted by the global community.

In terms of trade, Japan is Vietnam’s third largest bilateral partner with last year’s turnover of 24.7 billion USD, of which Vietnam exported 13.1 billion USD worth of crude oil, garment, transport vehicles and spare parts while importing machinery, computer, electronics, iron and steel.

Moreover, a number of agreements, including the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, have been inked, facilitating economic cooperation activities.

Links in education, science-technology, culture, sports and people-to-people exchange have come a long way. Last year, there were over 500,000 Japanese arrivals to Vietnam - now home to 20,000 Japanese students and workers.

FM Minh said the two countries share mutual trust and comprehensive cooperation as precious asset, evidenced by the establishment of strategic partnership.

As for the people-to-people exchange, he said it has been going on for a very long time, pointing to the fact that over 400 years ago, the Japanese merchants landed in Pho Hien in the north and Hoi An in the central region.

The opening of direct flight services has made it easier for the exchanges by the two peoples. Thanks to cultural and custom similarities, they have become closer and understood each other, reflected in Vietnam’s whole-hearted support to the Japanese victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Alongside cooperation channels between the Governments, legislatures and political parties, people-to-people diplomacy has strengthened the foundation for friendship as well as sustainable and long-lasting development of the Vietnam-Japan strategic partnership.

Referring to the potential of bilateral cooperation, the Minister informed that the two nations’ leaders have agreed to start various important projects like the Vietnam’s industrialisation strategy.

They are also on the right course to double two-way trade in the next 10 years as set in the 2011 joint declaration, he noted.-VNA