Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has affirmed Japan’s strong backing for Vietnam’s socio-economic development and its commitment on support for projects in the southeast Asian nation.

During his talks with Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Tan Dung, in Tokyo on Oct. 31, PM Noda expressed the Japanese Government’s commitment to considering assistance to the Long Thanh International Airport project and other prioritised works such as highway projects (Ninh Binh-Bai Vot section and Nha Trang-Phan Thiet section) and metro line projects in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as continued provision of official development assistance (ODA) to the poverty reduction credit programme.

For his part, PM Dung affirmed that the Vietnamese Government always considers Japan as a leading economic partner and pledged to create favourable conditions for Japanese investors.

He spoke highly of Japan’s cooperation to build and implement an industrialisation strategy and an action plan by 2020 for Vietnam and affirmed his intention to set up a high-level cooperative committee in this field.

PM Dung expressed his wish that the Japanese Government make a study of two potential industrial zones for engineering and electronics in Hai Phong city and Ba Ria-Vung Tau province. He asked the Japanese Government to support and encourage Japanese firms to participate in projects in Vietnam under the form of public-private partnerships (PPP).

At the talks, the two PMs exchanged views and agreed on orientations and specific measures to deepen the Vietnam-Japan strategic cooperative partnership.

They affirmed the importance of maintaining high-level contacts between the two countries and dialogue channels at all levels, particularly increasing the effectiveness of the Vietnam-Japan cooperative committee mechanism, to efficiently implement the two countries’ strategic partnership.

The two sides agreed to name 2013, the year of the 40th anniversary of their diplomatic ties, as the “Year of Vietnam-Japan and Friendship”.

The two PMs also agreed to double current two-way trade by 2020. They discussed and agreed to boost cooperation in culture, education, science and technology, people-to-people exchange, particularly among youths, and human resource development. They also agreed to increase cooperation in international and regional issues of common concern.

PM Dung expressed his sympathy and solidarity with the Japanese people over the heavy loss of lives and property caused by the March earthquake and tsunami. He thanked the Japanese Government and people for their continued provision of ODA to Vietnam, despite undergoing a national recovery after the disasters.

PM Noda also expressed his gratitude for the sympathy and assistance of the Vietnamese Government and people.

The two PMs agreed that these feelings are evidence of the friendship built over the past years by the two governments and peoples.

PM Dung invited PM Noda to visit to Vietnam in 2012 and the latter accepted the invitation with pleasure.

After the talks, the two PMs signed the joint statement on the implementation of action within the framework of the Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity in Asia between Vietnam and Japan, an agreement on Ninh Thuan 2 nuclear power plant construction cooperation project, a cooperative agreement on rare earth mineral exploitation and development in Vietnam, and a memorandum of understanding on Japan’s mechanism for receiving Vietnam’s nurses.

They witnessed a signing ceremony on the exchange of a diplomatic note regarding the first batch of the Japanese Government’s ODA provision to Vietnam for the 2011 fiscal year.

Earlier, PM Dung separately met with representatives of major Japanese firms such as Mitsubishi, Itochu, Sojitz, Hitachi and Mitsui, as well as Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)./.