Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko (Photo: Kyodo/VNA)

Hanoi  (VNA) – The state visit to Vietnam by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko from February 28 to March 5 is a significant event marking a crucial milestone in the cooperation and friendship between the two nations.

It demonstrates Japan’s interests in Vietnam and will contribute to boosting Vietnam-Japan extensive strategic partnership in a more comprehensive manner as well as strengthening mutual understanding between the two people.

The visit, made at the invitation of President Tran Dai Quang and his spouse, takes place at a time when the two countries’ extensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia is growing across sectors.

Emperor Akihito always supports Japanese royal members to increase exchange with Vietnam. He and Empress Michiko have many times expressed their desires to visit Vietnam.

Having a great passion for freshwater fish, Emperor Akihito discovered a new species of goby fish in a Can Tho river tributary in Vietnam’s Mekong delta while conducting a research for his doctoral thesis on fish in the south of Vietnam in the 1970s.

In 1974, he presented a specimen of this species of goby to the biology museum under Hanoi University of Natural Science.

Vietnam-Japan relations have enjoyed sound cooperation in economy, politics and cultural exchange and understanding and trust between the two peoples have been reinforced since the two countries established their diplomatic ties on September 21 in 1973.

Japan continuously remains Vietnam’s leading economic partner. It is the biggest provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA) for Vietnam and ranks second in foreign investment with a total registered capital of 42 billion USD, accounting for 15 percent of total foreign direct investment poured into the country.

With nearly 700,000 Japanese visitors to Vietnam in 2016, Japan became Vietnam’s third largest tourism partner. Both signed a joint statement on tourism cooperation in April, 2005, helping lure more Japanese holiday-makers to Vietnam.

Japan has launched in a number of projects helping Vietnam preserve and restore traditional houses in northern, central and southern regions. The Japanese Government started its support for conserving the Thang Long imperial citadel in Hanoi in 2004. Many Japanese archeological experts have taken part in inspection, excavation and research activities in Vietnam.

The two sides have also promoted people-to-people exchanges through the organization of exhibitions, film festivals and other cultural events.

Japan is also a leading provider of non-refundable aid for Vietnam’s education. By 2016, about 60,000 Vietnamese students have pursued their study in the East Asian country.

In addition, Vietnam and Japan have collaborated in such spheres as agriculture, climate change response and labour.

Twining relations have been set up between HCM City and Osaka (in 2007), Da Nang and Sakai (in 2009), Hanoi and Fukuoka (in 2013), Da Nang and Yokohama (2013), HCM City and Yokohama (in 2013), Dong Nai and Hyogo (in 2013), Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Kawasaki (in 2013), Phu Tho and Nara (in 2014), Hue and Kyoto (in 2014), Hung Yen and Kanagawa (in 2015), Hai Phong and Niigata (in 2015) and Nam Dinh and Miyazaki (in 2015).-VNA