Japanese Emperor and Empress pay state visit to Vietnam

15:59 | 01/03/2017 Events

At the invitation of President Tran Dai Quang, Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have arrived in Hanoi, commencing their first ever State visit to Vietnam.

Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko were welcomed by Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh at Noi Bai Airport - Credit: VOV

This is an important event, marking a historic milestone in the cooperative and friendly relationship between the two countries, contributing to fostering the long-standing relationship and extensive strategic partnership working for peace and prosperity in Asia as well as enhancing understanding between the two nations and meeting the desires of the two countries’ people.

Japan is an island nation to the east of Asia with total land area of about 378,000 square kilometres and a population of more than 126 million as of December 2016. The land of cherry blossoms comprises more than 6,850 islands, with the four largest islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku accounting for 97% of its total land area. Under the 1947 Constitution, Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the Emperor is the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people. Since ascending the throne in 1989, the Emperor and Empress have visited all 47 prefectures and remote islands of Japan, visited 57 countries, of which 26 have been official visits.

With strong determination, diligence, creativity and sweeping reforms, Japan has emerged from the ashes of war to become a world power, gradually restoring its position on the international stage and becoming an active member in economic, political and social international forums.

Japan is one of the world leaders in science and technology, and is the world’s third largest economy with GDP of US$5 trillion. Under the reign of the Emperor and Empress, the Japanese people have achieved solid unity. The coalition government between the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has generally maintained socio-political stability and is endeavouring to revive economic growth and reconstruct areas devastated by earthquakes and tsunamis. The Abe administration has also implemented a foreign policy aimed at developing the country and enhancing the position of Japan in the region and the world.

As countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Vietnam and Japan share many cultural similarities and have a long tradition of cultural and trade exchanges, laying a foundation for furthering bilateral relations. The relationship between the two countries witnessed a major milestone when they established diplomatic ties in 1973 and since then has seen continuous developments.

The state visit to Vietnam by the Japanese Emperor and Empress comes at a time when the Vietnam-Japan extensive strategic partnership established in 2014 has been growing comprehensively in many areas such as economics, politics, diplomacy, security, defence, agriculture and labour on the spirit of mutual understanding and respect and win-win cooperation.

The two sides regularly hold high-level visits and exchanges, thereby reinforcing mutual political trust. Japan is a major economic partner of Vietnam and the first G7 member to recognise Vietnam as a market economy. Japan is also the largest provider of ODA to Vietnam, the second largest foreign investor in Vietnam, the third largest source of foreign visitors to Vietnam and the fourth largest trading partner of Vietnam. Cooperation in other fields such as science-technology, education-training, culture, sports, tourism and environmental protection has also seen rapid and substantive growth. Vietnam and Japan’s sound co-operation at multilateral forums such as the United Nations, ASEAN, APEC, ASEM and the Human Rights Council has been of benefit to all sides.

The Japanese Imperial Household supports promoting friendly cooperation between Vietnam and Japan, especially strengthening cultural exchanges with the notable example of Japan’s gagaku and Vietnam’s nha nhac court music; and promoting people-to-people exchange to enhance mutual trust and understanding between the two countries’ people.
Extending a warm welcome to the Japanese Emperor and Empress, it is believed that their visit will be a great success, marking a new milestone in the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries. The visit will create a strong stimulus to drive the Vietnam-Japan relations further in a more comprehensive and substantive manner, bringing benefits to both countries’ people, contributing to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world at large.

Theo NDO