The Vietnam-Japan Friendship Association in Can Tho city and the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Association in Sakai city sign a memorandum of understanding on cooperation at the conference in Can Tho on April 18 (Photo: VNA)

Can Tho (VNA) – A conference took place in Can Tho city on April 18 to connect Japanese partners with the Mekong Delta, where the presence of foreign businesses, including Japanese ones, is still modest compared to other regions of Vietnam.

The event was among an array of activities marking 45 years of the two countries’ diplomatic ties.

In the opening remarks, former President Truong Tan Sang said the conference aimed to promote investment cooperation between the Mekong Delta localities and Japanese partners. It was a new stride in Vietnam-Japan relations since the signing of a joint statement on the establishment of an extensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia in 2014.

Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son said after years of making development efforts, the Mekong Delta, comprising 12 provinces and Can Tho city, has become a dynamic region full of development potential. The Vietnamese Government pins high hopes on this region, which is also attracting interest of many domestic and foreign investors.

However, he said, the presence of foreign businesses, especially Japanese ones, in the Mekong Delta remains modest compared to other regions. Notably, most of Japanese investors have just concentrated their investment on Can Tho city.

Meanwhile, unpredictable climate change in this region also poses risks to local economic and food security and social stability, he noted.

He expressed his hope that through this conference, Japanese investors would understand more about the Mekong Delta in general and Can Tho city in particular so as to have long-term business orientations here. He also expected that they would stand side by side with the Vietnamese Government in preventing and addressing negative climate change impacts, helping to turn the Mekong Delta into a strong economic hub of the country.

Introducing his city’s advantages, Chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee Vo Thanh Thong emphasised that Can Tho boasts a favourable river port system linking with many regional localities, along with an international airport. It also has the most developed trade centres, education and healthcare services in the region. Those are the conditions helping the city attracting the most investment in the region over the past years.

For his part, Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Umeda Kunio said he will actively support the Mekong Delta in attracting Japanese investment. He will help them organise events to connect with Japanese businesses in line with the capacity and demand of each locality.

The conference discussed cooperation in developing transport, health care, education-training and climate change adaptation infrastructure; locality-to-locality cooperation in culture, tourism and labour; and cooperation in agricultural investment.

Sidelines activities included talks between the Mekong Delta localities and the Japanese Ambassador, and visits to industrial parks, projects needing investment, and Japanese companies in Can Tho.

On this occasion, memoranda of understanding on cooperation were inked between the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Foreign Affairs of Localities and Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar, between the Bio-Technology Centre of An Giang province and Japan’s Hagihara company, between the An Giang Bio-Technology Centre and Japan’s Daimasa Engineering company, and between the Vietnam-Japan Friendship Association in Can Tho city and the Sakai-Vietnam Friendship Association.-VNA