Japan is considering specific steps to provide patrol boats as well as relevant training to Vietnam, Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio said in an interview with VnExpress newspaper ahead of his three-day visit to the Southeast Asian country starting Thursday.
At the Japan-Vietnam Summit held in Tokyo in December 2013, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed the start of the negotiations between the two countries on Japan’s provision of patrol boats to Vietnam based on their bilateral cooperation so as to enhance Vietnam’s marine law enforcement capability, Minister Fumio said.
In March 2014, during a visit to Japan by Vietnamese State President Truong Tan Sang, PM Abe said that Japan would send a survey team to Vietnam for working with local competent agencies on issues related to the Japanese provision of patrol boats, the minister said.
A team consisting of experts from the Japanese foreign ministry and the Maritime Security Agency arrived in Vietnam late that month, he added.
In mid-July this year, Japanese experts began their surveys in Vietnam, Minister Fumio said, adding that the Japanese side is collecting necessary information in relation to this provision and still discussing it with the Vietnamese counterpart.
“Japan is aware that improving Vietnam’s capability of maritime law enforcement is an urgent, necessary task, so we are mulling over conducting human resource training in this field alongside the supply of patrol vessels to Vietnam,” the Japanese diplomat said.
When asked about the significance and purpose of his visit to Vietnam, Minister Fumio said that during the past 20 years, as a member of the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentary Alliance, he has tried his best to become a ‘bridge’ between Japan and Vietnam to help boost the development of the two countries’ ties.
“This time, after four years, I am going to visit Vietnam again as the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, and I expect to witness with my own eyes Vietnam’s great development over the time,” the minister said.
He also pointed out that President Sang agreed with Prime Minister Abe on building an “intensive and extensive strategic partnership” between Vietnam and Japan during his March visit.
Therefore, the minister hoped that such a partnership will be discussed in detail during his meetings with Vietnamese officials, including Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.
Last year marked 40 years of Japan-Vietnam diplomatic relations and various cultural and sporting activities were conducted in both countries to celebrate the milestone, Minister Fumio said.
Local football (soccer) striker Le Cong Vinh became the first Vietnamese player to play for a professional football club in Japan, Consadole Sapporo Club, in 2013.
In addition, since May this year, Toshiya Miura, a Japanese coach, has led the national football team of Vietnam.