Vietnam hosted for the first time a congress of the ASEAN Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA) in Hanoi on September 7 as part of activities to mark the 40 th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Japan and the 40 years of ASEAN-Japan relations.

As the 20th of its kind, the congress brought together 350 domestic and foreign delegates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Foreign Relations, ministries and embassies of Japan and ASEAN member countries in Vietnam along with ASEAN alumni in Japan.

Since its inception in 1977, ASCOJA has seen the participation of alumni from all ASEAN nations and its conference is organised every two years in rotation in some ASEAN member nations.

This year’s congress reviewed ASCOJA’s activities over the last two years, mapped out orientations and plans for its 2013-2015 tenure, and sought measures to foster cooperation among ASEAN countries and between the group and Japan in the coming time.

Addressing the event, Chairman of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations Vu Xuan Hong affirmed that ASCOJA and ASEAN alumni will strongly uphold their role in promoting exchange and mutual understanding within ASEAN as well as between ASEAN and Japan.

On the occasion, the ASCOJA congress participants received greetings from Vietnamese and Japanese leaders and high-ranking officials, which highlighted the significant role ASCOJA in linking and strengthening cooperation between ASEAN and Japan.-VNA