Numerous activities are being held to celebrate the Vietnam-Japan, Japan-Vietnam Friendship Year 2013 and 40 years of diplomatic ties, contributing to further strengthening the traditional friendship between the two countries.

On December 11, leaders of Ho Chi Minh City attended celebrations of Japanese Emperor Akihito’s 79 th birthday at the Consulate General of Japan in Ho Chi Minh City.

Addressing the ceremony, Consul General Hida Harumitsu expressed his pleasure at the strong growth in bilateral relations in recent years on both governmental and lower levels, on the basis of the strategic partnership.

Japan remains the biggest provider of official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam with a record 3.3 billion USD in 2011.

The East Asian economic power also accounts for half of the total foreign investment flow into Vietnam in the first 11 months of this year.

In the fields of education and culture, the number of Vietnamese students in Japan in 2011, at 4,000, was the highest among ASEAN countries.

According to the Vice Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, Le Manh Ha, projects using Japan ’s ODA capital have helped improve the infrastructure and living standard of people in the city. Japanese businesses invested a total of 2.67 billion USD in 525 projects in HCM City alone.

The same day, the capital city of Hanoi received a gift from Japan, which is 300 cherry trees. The trees were planted in Long Bien district as part of a project to plant 1,000 cherry trees in the capital city. The project kicked off in 2010, when Hanoi celebrated its millennial anniversary.-VNA