Addressing the inauguration ceremony, Phan Van Mai, head of the Ho Chi Minh City administration, noted that the southern city is honoured to play host to the eighth iteration of the Vietnam – Japan Festival, a cultural exchange of great significance in the relationship between the two countries.

The Vietnam – Japan Festival has become an annual cultural exchange event and can be viewed as a milestone in bilateral relations since it was first held in Ho Chi Minh City in 2013 in celebration of 40 years of diplomatic ties, he said.

According to the municipal leader, Ho Chi Minh City and the Japanese side are expected to hold a range of trade promotion activities, tourism exchanges, business connections, and business community meetings between the two countries during this year’s festival.

He expressed his hope that the festival would contribute to deepening the extensive strategic partnership that exists between the two countries, for peace and prosperity in Asia.

Tsutomu Takebe, head of the Japanese organising board of the Vietnam-Japan Festival, said the function is a typical event that celebrates the history and tradition that the people of the two countries have united to create, with this bond set to continue to develop in the future.

Japan currently ranks third among foreign investors in Vietnam, with two-way trade being maintained and yielding good results, despite the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are 2,000 Japanese companies doing business and about 20,000 Japanese people living in Vietnam. In addition, tourism is a pillar in bilateral ties, with approximately one million Japanese nationals travelling to Vietnam in 2019 before COVID-19 broke out.

The Vietnam – Japan Festival 2023 is taking place at September 23 Park from February 23 to February 26.

Visitors will have the chance to learn more about Japan through performances of Doraemon and Conan that are famous Japanese manga in Vietnam, fashion shows displaying Ao Dai of Vietnam and Kimono of Japan, along with performances of Japanese martial arts, Japanese folk songs, Japanese drums, Shamisen musical instrument, and Bon Odori dance.