The “Vietnam-Japan Friendship Train” departed from Hanoi station to Ho Chi Minh City at 7pm on May 8, beginning its 30-trip operation on the North-South railway from now to September.

Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Tanizaki Yasuaki, Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Vietnam Tsumo Motonori, and leaders of the Vietnam Railway Corporation and the Ministry of Transport are on the memorable train.

The SE1 from Hanoi station and the SE2 from Saigon station are under the name “The Vietnam-Japan Friendship Train”.

The last journey of the train will depart from Saigon station on September 21, the date 40 years ago Vietnam and Japan officially signed a diplomatic note on the establishment of their diplomatic ties.

Addressing the ribbon cutting ceremony, Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Ngoc Dong highly valued the establishment of this programme, considering it a symbol of the Vietnam-Japan friendship. It is part of activities to celebrate the Vietnam-Japan Friendship Year and the 40 th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties.

Japan has always been the leading sponsor for Vietnam ’s socio-economic development, notably the project to upgrade the North-South railway, he added.

Between 1993 and 2013, Japan has helped Vietnam upgrade and replace 48 out of 63 railway bridges on the route with a total cost of 45.1 billion JPY.

Thanks to this, the travel time between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City has been cut from 36 to 30 hours. It is expected that the time will be 24 hours if the replacement of remaining bridges is completed.-VNA