Japan continues to support Vietnam in achieving its key goal to become an industrial and modern country by 2020, said Japan International Cooperation Agency President Tanaka Akihiko.

In an exclusive interview with Vietnam News on August 27, Akihiko said Vietnam still needs various development demands that require financial and technical support despite becoming a middle-income country in 2010.

"Though Vietnam has become a middle-income country – an important milestone – I acknowledge that the support principle of Japan to Vietnam is unchanged," he said.

"Japan will continue to help Vietnam achieve the key goal of becoming an industrial and modern country by 2020 and meet the country's 5 and 10-year socio-economic development strategies." confirmed Akihiko.

He noted Vietnam has faced many challenges en route to achieving its goal of industrialisation and infrastructure improvement, plus greater human resources training, policy and institutional reform.

"Financial resources required for Vietnam's basic infrastructure development will be a huge number, so besides foreign loans, Vietnam should mobilise capital from the private sector and this will be a challenge requiring priority handling in Vietnam" said Akihiko.

ODA priorities will be given to Vietnam in three main pillars: fostering economic development and strengthening competitive ability through infrastructure building; enhancement of state management; and assistance for vulnerable groups through support of locality, health and health care development.

Japan will also help Vietnam reform State enterprises and cope with environmental problems such as climate change and disasters, according to Akihiko.

Explaining the role of ODA in Japan's economic foreign policy, the JICA president said in the current climate of globalisation, Japan believes it is necessary to foster friendly relations with other countries in the world. The development and peace of friendly countries retain a large impact on Japan's development and peace.

"Taking Vietnam as an example, convenient economic development of Vietnam will increase Japan's investment. This not only contributes to boosting growth for Vietnam but is also an advantage for Japan's economy. Infrastructure development through ODA sources will contribute to promoting foreign investment," stressed Akihiko.

Japan has now become Vietnam 's biggest source of bilateral assistance over the past 20 years. Japan has supported socio-economic development in the Southeast Asian nation through infrastructure building, human resources training, plus mechanism and policy reforms.

Last year marked the 20th anniversary of Japanese ODA support to Vietnam and Japan has provided 1,836 billion JPY (approximately 18.785 billion USD) in ODA loans to Vietnam over the past two decades.-VNA