President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Huynh Dam has extended his deep sympathy to the Japanese Government, people and victim families.

In his message of condolence sent on March 18, the VFF leader expressed his belief that the Japanese Government and people will overcome difficulties and losses caused by the recent earthquake and tsunami.

The Vietnamese Government has decided to provide assistance and the Vietnam Red Cross (VRC), a member of the VFF, made an appeal to the Vietnamese people to make donations to the Japanese people, he said.

The VFF will continue coordinating with the VRC on mobilising all strata of Vietnamese society to donate to help Japanese people overcome the consequences of the quake and tsunami, he added.

Also on the occasion, President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) Vu Xuan Hong sent messages of sympathy to President of the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Association Motoo Furuta, the Council of the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Peace Council, former Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Hattori Norio and advisor to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan Sato Hideaki.

On the afternoon of March 18, VUFO and the Vietnam-Japan Friendship Association jointly launched a campaign to mobilise donations for Japanese quake and tsunami victims.

Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Yasuaki Tanizaki attended the launching ceremony and thanked the Vietnamese people for their encouragement and sharing.

By March 18, more than 16,000 people were killed and missing and 500,000 people were evacuated, said the Japanese diplomat, adding that evacuees are facing shortages of food, medicine and warm accommodation facilities.

He also shared Japan’s efforts to overcome the incident at the nuclear power plant.

More than 30,000 Vietnamese people in Japan were guaranteed safety, said Tanizaki.

He said the Japanese Foreign Ministry and the Vietnamese embassy in Japan will continue close coordination to assist Vietnamese citizens.

He said he believed that his nation will gradually overcome difficulties with the assistance of the international community, including Vietnam.

The campaign mobilised 1.61 billion VND, 20,000 JPY and 550 USD for the Japanese victims right on the first day.

The same day, ministries, branches, agencies, businesses and people nationwide donated to help Japanese victims.

Vietnam News Agency raised 100 million VND; the Ministry of Planning and Investment donated 215 million VND and the Ministry of Health, almost 700 million VND.

Hoang Thach Cement Company mobilised 500 million VND and Vietnam Garment and Textiles Corporation (Vinatex) gave 100,000 USD.

Vietnam’s mobile phone service provider Mobifone announced its “Closer to Japan” programme to its subscribers. Under the programme from March 18-31, Mobifone subscribers will be exempted for the first two minutes of all calls to Japan and all SMS messages from Vietnam to Japan./.