Oct 31, 2018 / 13:04

Close affection of Vietnam for Japan prominent in the world: Ambassador

The Hanoitimes - Japanese ambassador to Vietnam Umeda Kunio had a brief interview with Hanoitimes about potential cooperation opportunities between the Land of the Rising Sun with Vietnam as well as Hanoi city.

Japanese ambassador to Vietnam Kunio Umeda
Japanese ambassador to Vietnam Umeda Kunio. Photo: Japanese embassy in Hanoi
2018 marks the 45th year of the establishment of Vietnam-Japan diplomatic relations. Can you share about noteworthy points in the bilateral cooperation during this time? What do you think are the similarities between the Vietnamese and Japanese people that contribute to the unique, strong relationship between the two countries?
Japan and Vietnam celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year with more than 200 events organized in both countries. Based on the “Extensive Strategic Partnership”, this relationship has been deepening and developing in all fields. With the basic viewpoints that Vietnam’s sustainable development is important to the stability and prosperity of the whole region and Japan, the government of Japan has been increasingly promoting cooperation with Vietnam.
Japan and Vietnam share many cultural similarities. The close affection of Vietnam for Japan, as well as the trust in the Japanese people, is prominent in the world. The Japanese people also have a strong affinity for Vietnam. One of the factors contributing to this sentiment is the sharing of similarities in Mahayana Buddhism and culinary culture. Also, there are many Japanese people who have contributed a great deal to Vietnam’s development, such as Mr. Sugi Ryotaro (supporting orphanages and a school for the blind), Dr. Hattori Tadashi (a doctor of cataract surgery), Dr. Natsume Nagato (a doctor of cleft lip surgery), and Mr. Honna Tetsuji (a symphony orchestra conductor), among others.
Your tenure started in late 2016. Until now, after nearly two years living and working in Hanoi, Vietnam, what are your impressions of this city in two aspects, as a living site and an investment destination in the region?
Since I assumed my duties in Vietnam in November 2016, I have felt very fortunate to be working in Vietnam, one of the countries in the world that has a close affection for Japan and is full of energy to develop further.
I have shared this feeling with many of the Japanese citizens living in Vietnam. So far, I have visited many provinces in the North, Central and South of Vietnam. In all the places I traveled, I really felt the energy of Vietnam to develop, and I was especially impressed by the vibrant city and the vitality of the Hanoi people.
With regard to investments, as indicated by the investment capital and number of projects, the Japanese enterprises’ interest in Vietnam continues to be high. Japan is attaching importance to cooperation with Hanoi, which can be also regarded as the “face” of Vietnam.
Japan wishes to contribute to the development of Hanoi through the implementation of important infrastructure and investment projects such as urban development in the northern part of Hanoi, the Hanoi city urban railway construction project, and operations of Japanese enterprises in Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park.
Japan has been the largest ODA provider to Vietnam for years, and many ODA projects have been implemented in Hanoi as well. Could you tell us about Japan’s ODA policy for Vietnam in the future?
Japan has supported the economic development of Hanoi and Vietnam through construction projects such as the Noi Bai International Airport Terminal 2 and the Nhat Tan Bridge. However, what I am worried about is that due to public debt issues, new large scale projects have not been started recently, and even important ones already being implemented are very behind in their scheduled plans.
The government of Japan wishes to continue to contribute to the sustainable development of Vietnam through such areas as promoting high-quality infrastructure, administrative reforms, industrial development, labor productivity improvement, and energy, etc.
Thank you, Ambassador!