Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan today starts his official visit to Vietnam at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung. This is Kan's first visit to Vietnam as the head of the Japanese government.
Since the establishment of their bilateral diplomatic ties in September 1973, the nations' relationship has continued to develop through visits of high-ranking leaders and co-operation in economics, culture, education, tourism and labour.
During Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh's visit to Japan in April 2009, he and then Japanese Prime Minister Aso Taro declared a Vietnam-Japan strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia.
Japan is Vietnam's third largest investor with nearly 1,300 foreign direct investment projects worth $20.5 billion. It is also the country's biggest official development assistance capital provider. In the last fiscal year, Japan provided Vietnam a record 145.6 billion yen ($1.8 billion).
On October 1, 2009, the countries enacted the Vietnam-Japan Economics Partnership Agreement, which created a legal framework for developing economic and trade ties.
In the first seven months of the year, the bilateral trade value reached $9.02 billion.