As the main gate to the East Sea of the northern provinces and a major marine economic development area, Hai Phong has many advantages to expand international cooperation and mobilise resources to become an international seaport city and a "national urban centre," the Vietnam Business Forum Magazine (VBF) has said.

Promoting the advantages, Hai Phong has continuously expanded the friendship, multifaceted cooperation effectively with partners from Japan - the third largest economy in the world.

The achievement in socio-economic development that Hai Phong has achieved in the past years is partly contributed by the Japanese Government and investors. Many of the important infrastructure projects in Hai Phong marked the friendship of Vietnam and Japan, such as Highway 10, Kien Bridge, Binh Bridge, Hai Phong International Gateway Port Construction Project, Tan Vu - Lach Huyen Construction Project, etc.

These strategic infrastructure projects meant not only to Hai Phong, but the East-West corridor area, creating a new impetus for the city to develop more strongly.

Especially Hai Phong and Japan's Kitakyushu city signed a friendship and cooperation agreement in 2009. Immediately after the signing, the two localities deployed quickly and efficiently the diplomatic activities.

With financial support from JICA, CLAIR, JETRO of Japan, Kitakyushu city has supported Hai Phong to implement a lot of projects in water supply, waste management, training of civil servants, workshops organising and technical exchanges and create cooperation opportunities for enterprises of the two cities, thereby enhancing management skills and operating skills for business leaders of Hai Phong. It can be said that the cooperation between the Hai Phong and Kitakyushu City has confirmed the solid cooperation between Japan and Hai Phong.

In recent years with the preferential policies on investment, Hai Phong is one of the cities attracting most FDI in the country. Hai Phong has attracted 66 projects from Japan with investment capital of 3.3 billion USD, accounting for 55 percent of the total investment. Most projects have an average capital scale of 20-30 million USD with an area of 2-3ha of land rent, the average investment rate of capital of investment projects from Japanese investors reach 10.3 million USD per ha.

Recently the industrial parks and economic zones in the city have attracted a number of large-scale projects such as Bridgestone, Nipro Pharma, Kyocera Mita, Fuji Xerox. The number of employees working in Japanese enterprises are 28,000, accounting for 56 percent of total employment in the industrial parks and economic zones.

Hai Phong is one of the few localities of the country that has attracted much attention of the Japanese Government and counterparts, evidenced by many projects funded by Japanese ODA, especially many investment projects in infrastructure and transportation such as Hai Phong port project Phase 1 and 2; the National Highway 5 and 10 Project, and Binh Bridge.

It can be said that the Japanese ODA plays a very important role for the development of the city during the past few decades, not only motivating economic development, connecting Hai Phong with the outside, but also contributing to the more vivid appearance and the sustainable development of the port city.

One of the typical Japanese ODA-funded projects in Hai Phong is Tan Vu-Lach Huyen motorway. Started in early 2014, the project has a total investment of 11,849 billion VND, in which Japanese ODA loans was 10,049 billion VND and Vietnam's reciprocal capital is 1,800 billion VND. With a length of 5.44 km, Tan Vu - Lach Huyen bridge will be the longest sea crossing bridge in Vietnam and one of the longest sea-crossing bridges in Southeast Asia. The work will provide great impetus to economic development for Hai Phong and the northern region.

Hai Phong has always appreciated the friendly relations with Japan. Through projects using ODA funds, the support of the Japanese Government for Vietnam was well as Hai Phong has been remarkably effective.

In the coming time, Hai Phong will continue to accelerate projects funded by Japanese ODA in building transport infrastructure, seaports and industrial parks to attract Japanese companies to invest in Hai Phong. The city will also pay more attention to promoting Japanese language teaching, and developing Japanese urban architecture.-VNA