They have become important partners of each other, sharing strategic interests.

The bilateral relationship framework has continually been heightened, from a "trusted, long-term stable partnership" (2002) to “Towards a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia" (2006), then to a "strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia" (2009), and ultimately an "extensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia" (2014). The two countries often exchange high-level delegations and convene meetings on the sidelines of international and regional conferences, thereby strengthening the trust between their leaders and setting the course for effective development across all sectors in the bilateral relations.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (left) and his Japanese counterpart Kishida Fumio

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's recent trip to Japan to attend the expanded summit of the Group of Seven (G7) and a working visit to he country from May 19-21 set a new development milestone in the Vietnam - Japan extensive strategic partnership. Japan's invitation for Vietnam to attend the expanded G7 Summit shows that Japan attaches great importance to cooperation with Vietnam.

According to Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Yamada Takio, Japan considers Vietnam an important and necessary partner in implementing the Japanese plan “Free and Open Indo-Pacific" (FOIP).

During that visit, PM Pham Minh Chinh had a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Kishida Fumio. The two sides agreed to further strengthen trust and promote bilateral relations and cooperation in economy, trade, investment, new-generation official development aid (ODA), high-quality infrastructure, green transition, and energy transition. They also agreed to strengthen coordination, share points of view, and cooperate on regional and international issues of common concern. The two sides have achieved practical results in the field of ODA cooperation and investment with the signing of three ODA cooperation documents worth 61 billion yen ( 411.38 million USD).

Meanwhile, the official visit to Vietnam by President of the House of Councilors of Japan Otsuji Hidehisa from September 4-7 has further promoted cooperation between the two countries’ legislative bodies in particular, and the friendship and extensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and Japan in general.

In addition, the two countries are effectively maintaining dialogue mechanisms such as the Vietnam - Japan Cooperation Committee co-chaired by the two Foreign Ministers since 2007; the Vietnam - Japan Strategic Partnership Dialogue on Diplomacy, Security and Defense at Deputy Foreign Minister Level since 2010; the Vietnam - Japan Defense Policy Dialogue at Deputy Minister Level since November 2012; the Security Dialogue at Deputy Minister Level since 2013; the Joint Committee on Trade, Energy and Industry since 2014; the Ministerial-level Agriculture Dialogue since 2014; and the Vietnam - Japan Maritime Policy Dialogue at ministerial level since December 2019.

The two sides also cooperate closely and effectively at international and regional forums, contributing to peace, stability, and development in the Asia-Pacific.

In economic relations and trade, Japan is currently one of Vietnam's most important economic partners and the first G7 country to recognize Vietnam's market economy status.

Bilateral trade turnover has increased steadily over the years. Total two-way trade turnover reached 40 billion USD in 2020; 42.7 billion USD in 2021; and 47.6 billion USD in 2022. In the first eight months of 2023, the trade turnover neared 29.16 billion USD.

Japan is a large import market for vehicles and spare parts, machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts, wood and wood products, aquatic products, computers, electronics and components.

Japan exports to Vietnam machinery, spare parts, and equipment. The two countries have given each other the most-favored-nation tariff since 1999.

Regarding investment, Japan is the third largest provider of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam after the Republic of Korea and Singapore with 5,168 valid FDI projects with a total registered investment capital of more than 71.02 billion USD as of August 2023.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has 106 investment projects in Japan with a total registered investment capital of about 19.5 million USD.

Japan is also the largest ODA provider to Vietnam, accounting for about 30% of the total capital of foreign donors for Vietnam, with 29.3 billion USD, of which non-refundable aid is 1.8 billion USD.

The two countries have seen breakthroughs in agricultural cooperation, and climate change responses. Their cooperation in culture, education and training, health care, tourism, cooperation between localities, and labor also generates positive results.

About 1 million Japanese tourists visit Vietnam yearly. About 500,000 Vietnamese people are living, working, and studying in 47 prefectures and cities in Japan.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Pham Quang Hieu said that after five decades, the Vietnam - Japan relations are better than ever.

He said that leaders of the two countries have agreed to focus on implementing high-level agreements and cooperation areas.

Firstly, the two sides will continue to strengthen trusted political relations through promoting visits and contacts at all levels, especially high-level ones.

Secondly, the two countries will utilize the complementary strengths of the two economies, strengthen economic links, and keep Japan as Vietnam's leading partner in ODA, investment, and trade. Vietnam continues to call on Japan to provide new generation ODA to help develop strategic infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, digital transformation, climate change responses, and health care. Vietnam also calls on Japanese investors to Vietnam to support local enterprises in technology transfer and supply chains. 

Thirdly, the two countries committed to boosting cooperation in potential areas including digital transformation, digital economy, digital society, and green transition.

Source: VNA