Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung will pay an official visit to Japan from December 12-15 at the invitation of his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, and attend a commemorative summit to mark 40 years of ASEAN-Japan dialogue relations and the fifth Mekong-Japan Summit held in the capital city, Tokyo.

Over the past years, the Vietnam-Japan strategic partnership has seen in-depth development. The two sides have regularly exchanged high-level delegations, contributing to further cementing their political trust.

Vietnam and Japan established their diplomatic ties on September 21, 1973. Their relations have undergone historical ups and downs until Japan’s resumption of ODA provision to Vietnam in 1992. Since then, the two countries’ multilateral ties ranging from politics and economics to cultural exchange have been broadening along with their increasing mutual understanding and trust.

The two nations have maintained high-level meeting annually and formed multi-level dialogue mechanisms. Since 2002, the two sides’ relationship has been growing unceasingly from a reliable partnership in 2002 to a strategic partnership in 2009. During PM Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to Japan in October 2011, the two countries issued a joint declaration on the actions taken in the framework of their strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia .

The two countries have designated 2013 as the Vietnam-Japan Friendship Year to mark their 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties, during which they have coordinated in organising a series of activities.

However, it is economic cooperation that is the brightest spot in bilateral relations. Japan is one of Vietnam’s leading partners and the first G7 country recognising Vietnam’s market economy regulation (in 2011). The two sides have been collaborating in the implementation of Vietnam’s industrialisation strategy within the Vietnam-Japan cooperative framework by 2020, with a vision to 2030.

Two-way trade in 2012 hit 24.6 billion USD and 22.9 billion USD during January-November this year, of which Vietnam’s exports to Japan rose by 3.4 percent, reaching 12.3 billion USD, with imports from Japan down 0.3 percent to 10.5billion USD.

The two sides set a target of at least doubling their trade turnover by 2020.

In terms of foreign direct investment, Japan has counted 2,103 valid projects as of November 20, 2013, with a total registered capital of 34.5 billion USD, ranking first among 101 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

Japan remains the leading ODA donor to Vietnam, accounting for 30 percent of total ODA commitment to the country. During 20 years from 1992 to 2012, Japan committed nearly 23 billion USD of ODA projects to Vietnam.

The two countries have also built an efficient partnership in a wide range of areas including labour, culture-information, education-training, science-technology and tourism.

Within the framework of his visit to Japan, PM Nguyen Tan Dung will attend the summit marking the 40th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan dialogue relations.

Japan well supports the ASEAN Community building and prioritises the Sub-Mekong region framework, Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV), and East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC).

Referring to ASEAN connectivity, Japan has chosen 33 prioritised projects to develop ASEAN EWEC while taking into consideration the extension of the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).

Japan hopes to accelerate ties with ASEAN in applying satellite technology in natural disaster management, global health diplomacy and green growth. It also maps out four cooperation pillars of security-politics, traditional economics-trade, emerging issues and people-to-people exchange.

On the edge of the summit, the fifth Mekong-Japan Summit will be chaired by PM Shinzo Abe and attended by leaders of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Summit aims to review Mekong-Japan cooperation in 2013-2015 and reiterate their determination to boost their partnership for regional and sustainable stability and prosperity. The mid-term assessment statement for the 2012 Tokyo Strategy is scheduled to be passed at the summit.

PM Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to Japan, which falls on the two countries’ 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations is a vivid contribution to consolidating the two sides’ strategic partnership.-VNA