The Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam, Yasuaki Tanizaki, said the recovery process in Japan is successfully going on one year after the disastrous earthquake and tsunami.

“Last week I had a chance to visit the sites which were very heavily damaged by the tsunami. It is a very awful scene,” the ambassador said in a recent exclusive interview to the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the disaster’s one year anniversary.

“Only a few buildings remain, and I have noticed the point where sea water caused by the tsunami came to the height of the fourth floor of the buildings,” he said, adding that even in that situation, the people have been living there. “They are very, very brave. They have been struggling with the recovery process.”

The Ambassador again expressed his thanks to people of Vietnam for their support to Japan following the March 11 disaster.

He talked of Japan suffering a serious budget deficit in addition to the heavy losses caused by the tsunami and earthquake. In spite of this, the Japanese government has recently increased ODA to Vietnam, amounting to more than 2 billion USD.

“That is a remarkable increase,” Tanizaki said while noting that Japan is convinced it should extend and strengthen cooperation with Vietnam .

“I believe very very few Japanese people believe we should decrease ODA to Vietnam, so most of the people, almost 100 percent, are supportive of our policy to Vietnam,” the ambassador said.

Japan’s investment in Vietnam has also increased remarkably with over 200 projects in 2011 – twice as much as the level of the previous year.

To facilitate Japanese potential investors, the Japanese Embassy together with Japanese government affiliated organisations such as Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) has provided information relating to policies and laws, according to the Ambassador.

“What we are doing is to provide appropriate information to potential Japanese investors because they are struggling with shortages of information such as regulation and labour law and taxation system in Vietnam,” he said.

According to JETRO, Vietnam remained one of the leading destinations for Japanese investors in 2011, receiving a total of 1.84 billion USD in investment. The manufacturing sector accounted for 54 percent of total projects, mostly producing construction machines, automobile spare parts and electronic components. Trade and service businesses made up 15 percent of the projects, including top Japanese retailer Ministop.-VNA