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Oct 12, 2023 / 07:39

'Vietnam, Japan deepen relationship in all fields'

Kobayashi Maki, spokeswoman for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Vietnam-Japan relations are developing well in all fields, with high political trust.

Japanese Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko paid a visit to Vietnam on October 10-11. Vietnam is one of the first countries Kamikawa Yoko visited after taking office as Foreign Minister (September 13). She affirmed that Japan treasures and wishes to promote the relationship with Vietnam to develop more strongly and substantially in all fields and suggested that the two sides continue to deepen the Vietnam-Japan Extensive Strategic Partnership.

On this occasion, Kobayashi Maki, spokesperson of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs met with the Vietnamese press about the friendly relations between the two countries.

Respect, understand, and admire each other

How do you feel when you are in Vietnam?

I visited Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City 10 years ago as a tourist. Of course, your country has changed a lot since then.

Personally, I have always felt that Vietnam and Japan have a very close and long-standing friendship. There are many Vietnamese restaurants in Japan. I enjoyed traditional pho (noodle soup) and spring rolls. But when coming to Vietnam, enjoying authentic Vietnamese dishes is a much more interesting feeling. I found that Vietnamese cuisine uses a variety of spices and vegetables.

   Kobayashi Maki, spokesperson of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a meeting with the Vietnamese press. Photo: Trong Kien/The Hanoi Times

How do you evaluate the importance of cultural exchange in diplomatic relations between the two countries?

Vietnam-Japan relations are developing well in all fields, with high political trust. The two sides have promoted exchanges at all levels, most recently with the visit to Vietnam by Crown Prince Akishino and the Princess.

I believe that our friendly relations are not only based on high-level meetings but most importantly on people-to-people exchanges. It is a relationship built on mutual respect, understanding, and admiration for culture, history, and traditions. Japan and Vietnam have a long-standing relationship, based on those foundations.

In 2023, Vietnam and Japan celebrate 50 years of establishing diplomatic relations. We are very happy that since the beginning of the year until now, there have been nearly 500 commemorative activities successfully organized in both countries.

 The opera Princess Anio tells the love story between a Vietnamese princess and a Japanese merchant.

Recent activities include the Vietnamese Pho Festival in Japan, the tour of the Vietnam-Japan Festival Orchestra, and the opera Princess Anio... among others.

Thanks to these activities, Vietnamese people who have not yet had the opportunity to come to Japan have a certain feeling and understanding about Japan. On the contrary, Japanese people also feel closer to the country and the people of Vietnam.

What are the key factors to enhance cultural exchange and cooperation between the two countries?

The two countries have a lot in common that can be used as a foundation and material for cultural exchange and cooperation.

Vietnam and Japan both have unique and long-standing cultures. It is easy to see that Vietnamese and Japanese people are family-oriented, always remember their roots and believe in the core values of the nation.

I would like to share with you an interesting memory, that is, when I visited the Temple of Literature, I was very interested in the ancient architecture here, something vaguely similar to the religious space in Japan. When I arrived at the doctor's stone stele area, where talented and successful people are honored, I was surprised to see the glittering, shiny heads of turtles because many people rubbed their hands on them for good luck. In Japan, people do the same when going to temples and shrines.

Reprive visa procedures for Vietnamese citizens

How do you evaluate the significance of Minister Kamikawa Yoko's visit in the context of the two countries' current relations?

Minister Kamikawa's visit once again affirms that high political trust is an important foundation for the good development of relations between the two countries today.

Japan and Vietnam cooperate extensively in many fields, from bilateral to regional and international issues. Japan is working closely with Vietnam in areas of mutual interest so that Japan can support Vietnam in specific issues for peace and security in the region.

Besides bilateral issues, Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko's visit to Vietnam this time is also to prepare for the ASEAN-Japan Summit in December.

 Crown Prince Akishino and the Princess have visited Vietnam.

Here, the two sides will issue a statement expressing their determination and shared vision on regional issues, the common future that the two sides want to create together, and cooperation in regional issues.

Minister Kamikawa affirmed that Vietnam is vital in the region and the relationship between ASEAN and Japan. Japan and ASEAN face many common challenges, so the two sides should share experiences and coordinate with each other in various fields such as setting out rules to control the development of artificial intelligence (AI).

Japanese Government is looking for ways to attract more high-quality workers. Please tell us whether Japan will have special policies for workers from Vietnam in the near future?

We do not have any policies specifically designed for a country. Japan is indeed facing the problem of an aging population, so the Government is very serious about attracting high-quality workers by expanding professional fields and improving conditions for workers.

Specific policies are being discussed. In the immediate future, Japan is considering making it easier for Vietnamese people to enter the country, not visa-free, but we are trying to simplify visa procedures for Vietnamese citizens, such as considering Vietnam in the list of countries eligible for electronic visas, issue long-term visas (5-10 years) for Vietnamese people who have entered Japan many times and have not violated the law; step by step towards visa exemption for Vietnamese citizens.

Thank you for your time!