President of the House of Councillors of Japan Otsuji Hidehisa left Hanoi on September 7 afternoon, concluding his four-day official visit to Vietnam at the invitation of National Assembly (NA) Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue.
|National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue (R) and President of the House of Councillors of Japan Otsuji Hidehisa in Hanoi. (Photo: NDO/Duy Linh)
During his stay in Vietnam, Otsuji held talks with NA Chairman Hue, paid a courtesy visit to President Vo Van Thuong and met Truong Thi Mai, Permanent member of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee’s Secretariat, Chairwoman of the CPV Central Committee’s Organisation Commission and Chairwoman of the Vietnam – Japan Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group.
This is Otsuji Hidehisa's first overseas trip since taking office as President of the House of Councillors of Japan. The visit takes place at a time when the two countries are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties (September 21, 1973-2023) with many significant activities being held. It is expected to contribute to further promoting cooperation between the two legislatures in particular, and the extensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and Japan in general.
Over the past five decades, the framework of bilateral relations has upgraded from "reliable, stable and long-term partnership” in 2002 to "towards a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia" in 2006, and "strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia" in 2009, and "extensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia" in 2014.
Regular visits and meetings of the two countries’ leaders on the sidelines of global and regional conferences have contributed to strengthening their trustworthy relationship, setting major orientations to the effective development of bilateral relations across the board.
Two-way trade has been steadily increasing over the years, reaching 40 billion USD in 2020, 42.7 billion USD in 2021, 47.6 billion in 2022 and 24.9 billion USD in the first seven months of this year. Vietnam mostly exports vehicles and spare parts, machinery and equipment, wood and wooden products, aquatic products; computers, electronics and components to Japan while importing machinery, spare parts and equipment. The two countries have granted the most favoured nation (MFN) status to each other since 1999.
In terms of investment, Japan is the third largest foreign direct investor in Vietnam, following the Republic of Korea and Singapore, with 5,143 active FDI projects worth over 71.2 billion USD as of July 2023.
Japan is also the biggest supplier of official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam, accounting for around 30% of the total funding from foreign donors to the country. Japan's ODA to Vietnam has amounted to 29.3 billion USD, 1.8 billion USD of which was non-refundable aid.
Apart from economic and trade cooperation, the two countries have also worked effectively together in various areas, including culture, education and training, health care, tourism, locality-to-locality cooperation and labour.
Japan is one of the biggest non-refundable aid suppliers to Vietnam's education and training sector. Both countries inked a number of agreements in this field.