Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has emphasised the importance of Vietnam-Japan Friendship Year 2013 as both nations embark on furthering their strategic partnership.

He was speaking at the March 1 event to inaugurate the friendship year at the time to commemorate the 40th anniversary of bilateral relations. The event attracted high-ranking delegates from both countries.

Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Tanizaki Yasuaki expressed pleasure with activities scheduled for the year and gratefully recalled Vietnam ’s support for tsunami and earthquake victims in Japan.

Japan is one of the leading ODA donors for Vietnam. The country pledged 2.6 billion USD in ODA in 2013, with priority given to infrastructure development.

The ambassador also noted that the number of members for the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam had already topped 1,000.-VNA