President Tran Dai Quang and his spouse hosted a State banquet in Hanoi on March 1 in honour of Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, who are on their State visit to Vietnam from February 28 – March 5.
At the State banquet
In his speech, the President hailed the visit as an important milestone in bilateral friendship and cooperation, saying that the Vietnam-Japan relationship is now at its best in history.
He noted that while next year the two countries will celebrate the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties, bilateral exchanges dated back more than 1,000 years ago, when monk Phat Triet brought the Lam Ap dances with him from Vietnam to Japan’s Nara in the 8th century.
At present, nearly 170,000 Vietnamese are living and working in Japan. Last year, more than 200,000 Vietnamese visited Japan and over 700,000 Japanese travelled to Vietnam.
Describing cultural similarities and close bonds between the two peoples as a solid foundation for bilateral ties, President Quang said Vietnam and Japan are not only extensive strategic partners but also sincere friends sharing joy and grief together.
He recalled how Vietnamese people from all walks of life shared the pain of the Japanese people over their losses caused by earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, while highlighting Japan’s support for Vietnam in national development over the past years.
Vietnam considers Japan a long-term partner of top importance and a close friend, and the bilateral partnership is for the sake of the two peoples, for peace and prosperity in the region and the world, he stated.
Emperor Akihito, in reply, expressed his thanks for the warm welcome of the Vietnamese people for him and Empress Michiko, as well as for the Japanese Crown Prince, Prince and Princess when they visited Vietnam.
He said he was delight that more Vietnamese people are interested in Japanese language and more Japanese enterprises are keen on business opportunities in Vietnam.
The Emperor said with around 15,000 Japanese people living in Vietnam and regular cultural exchanges, the two countries have enhanced their cultural bonds and people-to-people exchange has been deepened.
He said he is delighted to visit Hue – the ancient capital of Vietnam where the Lam Ap music was once popular, and to have a chance to enjoy Vietnamese royal ceremonial music there.
In conclusion, he wished that the visit would contribute to further strengthening mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.