The Vietnam-Japan Friendship Year got underway in Ho Chi Minh City on February 27 to celebrate the 40 th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Japan .

The launch, organised by the Japanese Consulate General in HCM City , saw the participation of municipal leaders and various Japanese businesses in the city.

Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Le Manh Ha said the ceremony was significant as it heralds an array of cultural and artistic activities to be held in the locality to greet the two countries’ 40-year diplomatic relations.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1973, Vietnam and Japan have enjoyed constant developments in all fields of their relationship, Ha said, citing Japan as the first country in the Group of Seven (G7) to set up strategic partnership with Vietnam , in April, 2009.

The strategic partnership has also further tightened the relations between governments and people of Vietnam and Japan , according to Harumitsu Hida, Japanese Consul General in HCM City .

He noted that in March, various cultural exchanges will take place in HCM City to introduce Japanese culture to Vietnamese friends.

During the event, participants had a chance explore special taste of various kinds of Sake , Japan ’s most famous rice wine, introduced by Japanese wine experts.

Over the past 40 years, over the ups and downs of history, the Vietnam-Japan relations have yielded a lot of fruits.

On the plane of politics, high-ranking leaders have regularly exchanged visits to strengthen bilateral ties.

In the field of trade, Japan is now Vietnam ’s third largest partner with a two-way trade turnover reaching nearly 25 billion USD in 2012.

By the end of last year, the country ranked first among countries and territories investing in Vietnam with over 1,800 projects with a total registered capital of 29 billion USD.-VNA