Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino, the younger brother of Emperor Naruhito, arrived in Vietnam on Wednesday for a five-day visit to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries, as Tokyo pushes to deepen ties with Southeast Asia and other developing and emerging countries to address regional and global challenges.
Akishino, at a press conference last week, stressed the importance of deepening relations between Japan and Vietnam, noting their long history of cultural and economic exchanges dating back to the 16th century.
“Japan and Vietnam have a very close relationship,” Akishino said. “I hope we can contribute as part of an effort to promote friendly relations between the two countries.” He said it is especially important for younger people to develop mutual understanding and respect for each other’s culture through exchanges.
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During the September 20-25 trip, Akishino and his wife, Princess Kiko, will visit Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, where they will see the mausoleum of Vietnam’s first president, Ho Chi Minh, and participate in anniversary celebrations events, including attending a new opera. , before traveling to Hoi An in central Vietnam.
Akishino said he is particularly looking forward to his first visit to Hoi An, an old port city that was home to a “Japantown” for Japanese traders in the first half of the 1600s. He will also visit the nearby My Son Sanctuary, an archaeological site with spiritual origin in Indian Hinduism.
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The trip is Akishino’s third to Vietnam after previous visits in 1999 and 2012.
Akishino, who specializes in the study of chickens, noted that there are wild breeds of chickens in various stages of domestication in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, and their presence, along with giant catfish that live in the Mekong River, is part of the reason it attracts from the area.
The couple’s visit comes three months after Emperor Naruhito and his wife Masako visited Indonesia, this year’s chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as ASEAN and Japan mark 50 years of friendship. Japan is Indonesia’s largest provider of official development assistance, according to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.