JICA president urges Vietnam to address delays in HCMC's metro project

By Hoai Thu   December 18, 2023 | 02:26 am PT
JICA president urges Vietnam to address delays in HCMC's metro project
Train conducting its second test run on Metro Line No. 1 in HCMC, April 2023. Photo by VnExpress/ Quynh Tran
The President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Tanaka Akihiko, has called for swift action to operationalize HCMC’s Metro Line No.1, a project that has been underway for a decade.

During a meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Monday, Tanaka emphasized JICA’s historical role in supporting various projects through Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA), highlighting the particular challenges encountered by Metro Line No.1 in HCMC.

"We are keen to see Vietnam address these challenges expeditiously," he said.

Initiated in 2012, HCMC’s Metro Line No. 1, the city's inaugural urban railway line, has been primarily financed through Japanese ODA.

Stretching over 20 kilometers from Ben Thanh in District 1 to the Long Binh Depot in Thu Duc City, the project is nearing completion, with 96% of the work done and commercial operations scheduled to start in July, 2024.

The project is currently confronting obstacles related to financing for its mechanical and electrical components, as well as for its locomotives.

Furthermore, Tanaka also sought the Vietnamese government's intervention in fast-tracking the progress of additional projects under JICA's purview.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (middle right) meets with JICA President Tanaka Akihiko (middle left) in Tokyo, Japan, on December 18,2023. Photo by Duong Giang

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (middle right) meets with JICA President Tanaka Akihiko (middle left) in Tokyo, Japan, on Dec. 18,2023. Photo by Duong Giang

Tanaka emphasized that effectively addressing the current challenges would lay a solid groundwork for forthcoming infrastructure collaborations between Japan and Vietnam.

In response, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh concurred with Tanaka, underscoring the importance of swiftly resolving existing issues in older projects. He highlighted that resolving these would serve as a catalyst for expediting and enhancing the efficiency of future projects funded by Japanese ODA.

"We must clear the existing obstacles to enable simpler, more innovative, and more efficient ODA projects than those we've undertaken previously," Chinh stated.

With regard to the allocation of new ODA funds, Chinh urged JICA to consider offering more support and simplifying processes for Vietnam's strategic infrastructure projects, particularly in sectors like transportation, healthcare, education, digital and green transformation, and semiconductor and electronics industries.

Furthermore, he requested Japan's support in human resource development and labor collaboration between the two nations.

The Prime Minister also proposed that both countries engage in discussions to pinpoint specific projects for investment and establish a clear timeline to enhance the effectiveness of project implementation.

JICA President Tanaka concurred with Chinh's vision for the new ODA projects and committed that the agency would collaborate closely with the Vietnamese government to develop detailed execution plans.

Japanese ODA has been a major contributor to Vietnam’s socioeconomic development for the last 30 years.

It has also helped reduce poverty, develop infrastructure and education, all driving forces in Vietnam’s industrialization and modernization.

Japan has always been Vietnam’s top ODA partner. By the end of the 2020 fiscal year, it had lent Vietnam a total of US$27.5 billion in ODA.

This year, Japan’s ODA pledged to Vietnam topped US$674 million for the first time since 2017.

The previous generation of Japanese ODA projects focused mainly on traffic, energy and urban infrastructure.

The Monday meeting was part of Prime Minister Chinh’s visit to Japan for the Commemorative Ceremony for the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship.

go to top