Vietnam - Japan: Towards a new phase and new height

WVR - Japanese Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko’s visit to Vietnam from October 10-11 was a great success, promoting the implementation of high-level agreements between the two countries, strengthening practical cooperation in all fields, including cooperation between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs.
Vietnam - Japan: Towards a new phase and new height
Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son welcomed Japanese Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko in Hanoi, on October 10, 2023. (Photo: WVR)

After taking office as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan (September 2023), the destinations for Ms. Kamikawa Yoko's first visits were four Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam.

At the milestone of 50 years of diplomatic relations and the anniversary year 2023, both sides have reviewed outstanding achievements of bilateral relations over the past half century. During meetings with Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko, Vietnamese leaders affirmed that the two countries have many things in common and plenty room to develop bilateral relations to new heights.

Committments to specific efforts

During the past times, exchanges and cooperation between Vietnam and Japan have been implemented in a comprehensive and extensive manner, including the exchange of high-level delegations.

Most recently, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attended the expanded G7 Summit and paid a working visit to Japan in May 2023. This is the second time Japan has invited Vietnam to attend the expanded G7 Summit.

On September 20, Crown Prince Akishino and the Crown Princess paid an official visit to Vietnam, not long after the visit of Japanese President of the House of Councillors Otsuji Hidehisa (September 4-7). These visits contribute to strengthening friendly exchanges, trust and understanding between the two countries.

Within the framework of the visit, in addition to holding talks with Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, Japanese Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko paid courtesy visit to President Vo Van Thuong, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and met with Head of Commission for External Affairs Le Hoai Trung.

Choosing Vietnam as the destination less than a month after taking office, Minister Kamikawa Yoko concretized her commitment and efforts to support Vietnam in realizing its long-term strategic goals and vision for the period 2030-2045 with four key areas, including: revitalizing ODA cooperation, with a focus on strategic infrastructure development; expand investment and trade cooperation; cooperation in new fields such as digital transformation and green energy; cooperation in training high quality human resources.

In addition to bilateral cooperation issues, the two sides discussed regional and international situations, affirming close coordination and contributing to regional peace and stability, and continuing to coordinate at multilateral forums and international organizations.

President Vo Van Thuong affirmed that Vietnam is ready to coordinate closely with Japan to contribute to the success of the Commemorative Summit of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan relations in December 2023.

New generation ODA - one pillar of cooperation

Japan is the biggest ODA donor to Vietnam. Japanese ODA makes an important contribution to the development of key infrastructure projects, creating positive spillover momentum and promoting sustainable socio-economic development, supporting the transfer of advanced technology and training of high-quality human resources for Vietnam.

Within the framework of the expanded G7 Summit in May, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio highly appreciated the two sides completing procedures for committing capital to the new generation ODA program for economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic with a scale of 50 billion Yen (more than 8,500 billion VND).

The two leaders agreed to assign ministries and branches to discuss Japan's ability to provide new generation ODA with high incentives, simple and flexible procedures for large scale strategic infrastructure development projects of Vietnam such as North-South high-speed railway, urban railway, climate change prevention, digital transformation, green transformation and health.

At the discussions with Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son especially emphasized on new generation ODA with focusing message that Japan to promote and effectively deploy new generation ODA for Vietnam's large-scale strategic infrastructure development projects such as roads and railways.

Appreciating the ODA capital the Japanese Government has provided to Vietnam recently, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh proposed that the two sides cooperate closely to promote the progress of urban railway projects in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Minh, Cho Ray Hospital project facility 2…

It can be said that, in the context of the regional and world economies facing many challenges and difficulties, Vietnam-Japan economic cooperation in general, of which ODA cooperation is a pillar, continues to have positive results and make important contributions to Vietnam's socio-economic development.

Promoting ASEAN-Japan cooperation

Vietnam is one of the stops on Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko's trip to Southeast Asia this time in the context that Japan will be the host of the ASEAN - Japan Special Summit later this year. This is an important step to strengthen relations between Japan and ASEAN, especially after the adoption of the Joint Declaration establishing the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Strategic Partnership at the first ASEAN-Japan Summit last September 26, 2023.

Vietnam - Japan: Towards a new phase and new heights
Joint Statement on The Establishment of The ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. (Photo:

For Japan, ASEAN plays an important role in promoting peace, stability and development in the region. ASEAN is also one of Japan's important strategic partners and this relationship is not only based on economics but also includes diverse aspects such as security, culture and politics, education and training and exchange people. In an interview with the press, Minister Kamikawa Yoko said that Japan intends to build a new vision of the strategic partnership between Japan and ASEAN at the upcoming Special Summit.

Sharing with reporters immediately after Minister Kamikawa Yoko's high-level meetings in Hanoi, Japanese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Kobayashi assessed that Vietnam plays an increasingly important role in the region and at international arena with a peace-loving foreign policy, upholding international law and the United Nations Charter. Vietnam is also an active member of ASEAN, working with ASEAN members to expand relations with partners, making ASEAN a core factor for regional peace and stability.

An interesting coincidence, almost at the same time as the visit to Hanoi of the head of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Tokyo over the weekend, more than 85,000 people participated in Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 for the first time in the land of the rising sun. The echo of the event once again strengthened the spirit of friendship between the people of the two countries.

Along with the success of the Japanese Minister's visit to Vietnam, the bridge between the two countries maintained its seamless, at all levels and aspects, strong enough to take further steps, as Ms. Kamikawa Yoko affirmed. The two countries have all the conditions to bring relations to a new height.

In a discussion with Minister Kamikawa Yoko, Minister Bui Thanh Son proposed that Japan take measures to create favorable conditions and simplify procedures in granting visas to Vietnamese citizens, such as including Vietnam in the list of Countries are granted 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 moving towards visa exemption for Vietnamese citizens.
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