Vietnam sees maintaining friendly relations and cooperating with Japan as one of the country’s priority foreign policies, says President Truong Tan Sang.

At a reception to welcome Japan’s Prince Akishino to Hanoi on August 17, President Sang said that he is delighted at the rapid and strong development of ties between both countries, especially after their leaders agreed to lift relations to a strategic partnership in 2009.

He congratulated Japan on its achievements in national construction and development, especially after the brace of disasters it endured last year.

Sang said he believes that with all its efforts, Japan will continue to prosper and play an important role in the region and the world at large.

Vietnam’s leader informed his guest that a steering committee has been set up to coordinate activities of the Vietnam-Japan Friendship Year in 2013 and added that he hopes Japan will assist Vietnam to organise friendship activities to mark the significant event in Japan .

Prince Akishino thanked Vietnamese people for the support they gave Japan last year as the country dealt with the consequences of a massive earthquake and tsunami.

He also said that he hoped Vietnam will make his visit a success by agreeing to protect the environment and maintain the country’s bio-diversity./.