Milestones in Vietnam – Japan relations

By VnExpress   November 27, 2023 | 11:10 pm PT
The Vietnam - Japan relationship has gone through many changes before it was upgraded to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership on the 50th anniversary on Monday.
Milestones in Vietnam – Japan relations

Vietnam and Japan established diplomatic relations on Sept. 21, 1973 at a signing ceremony in Paris, France. This year marks the 50th anniversary of their ties, but in reality, the relationship of Vietnam and Japan has lasted for much longer than half a century.

In the 17th century, many Japanese trading ships started coming to Hoi An and soon turned it into a bustling port town. Japanese merchants left many trademarks that exist in the town until today, including the iconic Pagoda Bridge.

Among those merchants, Araki Sotaro married Vietnamese Princess Ngoc Hoa, the daughter of Lord Nguyen Phuc Nguyen, and brought her to Japan.

In 1905, revolutionary Phan Boi Chau organized the Dong Du movement, during which he brought about 200 young Vietnamese patriots to Japan to study, in the hope of training a new era of revolutionaries and independent activists to rise against French colonial rule.

Milestones in Vietnam – Japan relations

In 1993, Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet (2nd, L) became the first PM of Vietnam to visit Japan.

Milestones in Vietnam – Japan relations

The following year, PM Murayama Tomiichi (R) became the first Japanese PM to pay an official visit to Vietnam.

Japanese PMs have visited Vietnam 12 times while the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the Japanese Senate have visited twice each.

Ever since establishing diplomatic relations, the two countries have continuously fostered and strengthened their cooperation.

Milestones in Vietnam – Japan relations

In 1995, Do Muoi (R) was the first Party chief of Vietnam to visit Japan, which became the first G7 member to receive a general secretary of Vietnam's Communist Party.

In the past 50 years, Vietnamese Party chiefs have visited Japan four times. The number of trips is four for Vietnam's presidents, 21 for PMs, and four for the National Assembly chair.

Japan resumed official development aid (ODA) to Vietnam in 1992 and has now become the largest ODA donor, the second-biggest labor cooperation partner, and the fourth-largest trade partner of Vietnam.

Milestones in Vietnam – Japan relations

Party chief Nong Duc Manh (L) shook hands with Japanese PM Taro Aso in 2009, during which Japan and Vietnam signed the joint statement on the Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity in Asia, making Japan the first G7 nation to establish a Strategic Partnership with Vietnam.

Japan is also the partner that has signed the most bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements with Vietnam, including the ASEAN - Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Vietnam - Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

The two countries have given each other the most favored nation tax rates since 1999.

In the first nine months of 2023, Vietnam's import-export turnover with Japan reached over US$32.9 billion.

Milestones in Vietnam – Japan relations

President Truong Tan Sang (L) and PM Shinzo Abe when the Vietnamese leader visited Japan in 2014.

It is during this trip that Sang and Abe signed a joint statement on establishing "an extensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia."

By September 2023, Japan's FDI into Vietnam reached US$71.3 billion with almost 5,200 valid projects, ranking third among 143 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. In the first nine months of the year, Japan's total FDI capital into Vietnam reached about US$2.9 billion, up 50% over the same period last year.

Milestones in Vietnam – Japan relations

Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong (L) visited Japan in 2015, during which he and Abe issued a statement on the common vision of Vietnam - Japan relations.

The two sides affirmed that Vietnam and Japan are important partners, have many similar basic interests, and the development of one country will create favorable conditions for the other's.

Regarding educational cooperation, Vietnam was the first country in the world to introduce Japanese language into secondary school teaching since 2003, and primary school since 2019. Japan is one of the nations providing largest aid for Vietnam’s education and training through ODA programs.

There are currently more than 51,000 Vietnamese students in Japan.

Japan has supported the upgrading of four Vietnamese universities, and is cooperating to build a Vietnam-Japan University to train high-quality human resources for Vietnam in the field of science and technology, management and services.

Milestones in Vietnam – Japan relations

Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Vietnam in 2017. The visit is considered by both countries as having a historical significance to bilateral relations.

Milestones in Vietnam – Japan relations

PM Pham Minh Chinh (L) is seen with his Japanese counterpart Kishida Fumio during Chinh's visit to Japan in November 2021.

The two sides issued a joint statement toward the opening of a new era in the extensive bilateral strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia.

Vietnam’s expat community in Japan numbers around 520,000 people, standing second only after China. Vietnam waives visas for Japanese nationals visiting for up to 45 days, but Japan does not yet reciprocate.

Vietnam has been one of Japan's seven biggest tourism markets this year with 397,000 arrivals, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

Milestones in Vietnam – Japan relations

PM Chinh gifts PM Fumio a calligraphy with the Vietnamese words that mean "sincerity, affection and trust" when the Japanese PM came to Vietnam in April 2022.

Milestones in Vietnam – Japan relations

Japan's Crown Prince Akishino (2nd, L) and Crown Princess Kiko (L) visited Vietnam in September, marking their first foreign trip since the pandemic began, and also the first by any member of the Japanese royal family to Vietnam in six years.

Akishino is the younger brother and heir presumptive of Emperor Naruhito.

Milestones in Vietnam – Japan relations

President Vo Van Thuong (L) shakes hands with PM Kishida Fumio in Tokyo as he visited country on Nov. 27.

The same day the countries officially upgraded their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership, the highest level of partnership between countries.

The two leaders agreed to further strengthen economic ties and expand cooperation in areas such as innovation, technology transfer, digital transformation, and green transformation.

Photos by VNA, VGP, VOV, Reuters

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