Mr Mori Mutsuya, Chief Representative of JICA Vietnam, shared his thoughts with VET's Hai Bang about the visit by State President Truong Tan Sang to Japan and the future of Vietnam-Japan relations.
What comments would you care to make regarding the first ever official visit by State President Truong Tan Sang to Japan last month?
|Mr Mori Mutsuya, Chief Representative of JICA Vietnam|
State President Sang paid an official visit to Japan from March 16 to 19 and his first stop upon arrival was in Ibaraki prefecture, a locality well-known for its advanced agricultural technologies. The President visited Ibaraki’s Agriculture Research Centre, Agricultural Machinery Centre, and the Asahi Fresh Vegetable Processing Factory, to gain first-hand experience in Japanese models of applying high-technology in agricultural production to optimise yields. During his visit to Ibaraki prefecture he stressed that the most important aim of his visit was to further develop Vietnam-Japan ties towards more comprehensive and effective cooperation, particularly in the field of agriculture, because almost 70 per cent of Vietnam’s population live on agricultural production, and agricultural and rural development is among Vietnam’s priorities in its development strategy.
On the afternoon of March 16 the President also witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement between Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Ibaraki prefecture. The development priorities in agriculture set by the Vietnamese Government are no different to the Japanese Government’s assistance policy for Vietnam. We also identified one of three priority areas as “coping with vulnerabilities”. The development of rural areas is essential for Vietnam’s sustainable development. If you don’t develop rural areas how can you narrow the gap between rural and urban areas and alleviate poverty?
Since Japan restarted its ODA operations in Vietnam in 1992, JICA has continuously supported agricultural and rural development in Vietnam with increasing funds. Our assistance in this field includes technical cooperation, grant aid, agricultural techniques training, and improvements in the functions of agricultural cooperatives. We also offer assistance in the sustainable development of local resources, including tourism and disaster management. We put ODA funds into building rural road networks and irrigation systems.
Japan is also implementing technical cooperation to assist the building of and improving the mechanism for supervising food production chains in order to ensure food safety. Japan also proposed the application of “Basic GAP”, a quality standard system to ensure safe agricultural produce, which is simpler and easier to apply even by farmer households with small-scale production compared to the existing VietGAP.
This kind of cooperation is aimed not only at ensuring food safety for Vietnamese people but also to raise the international competitiveness of Vietnamese agriculture. Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung also requested Japanese assistance in agriculture during the Japan-ASEAN Summit in Tokyo last December. Japan will further its assistance to Vietnam in this field in the future.
What do you see for the future of Vietnam-Japan relations?
Based on the history of the two countries’ fruitful cooperation, I am confident that Vietnam-Japan friendship will be developed further by the younger generation, who are in their teenage years or early 20s now. Since Japan restarted its ODA to Vietnam in 1992 it has been offering its assistance in infrastructure construction, human resources development, agricultural and rural development, improvements to the urban environment, and healthcare, among others, in a synchronous and comprehensive manner, combining diversified assistance methods. We pledge to support Vietnam towards sustainable development with this assistance.