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New Vietnam-Japan cooperation era: Japanese Vice Minister of Defense

“Let's make 2023 the year that marks the beginning of a new era for both Japan and Vietnam," said Japanese Vice Minister of Defense Yasuhide Nakayama in a talk with VietNamNet.
Vice Minister of Defense Yasuhide Nakayama

Over the last decade, Japan has become one of Vietnam’s most important partners in the international arena. Vietnam also acts as an important partner in Japan’s coast guard diplomacy strategy, initiated under the late Abe Shinzo’s administration, under which, related parties share common values of peace and stability in the region. 

The Government of Japan has stepped up support for Vietnam to increase its maritime law enforcement capacity, committing to provide patrol boats to the Vietnam Coast Guard. What do you think about the prospects for Japan-Vietnam relations based on that foundation?

First of all, on September 21, 2023, Japan and Vietnam will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Through 2023, we would like to look back on the Japan-Vietnam relationship and create a commemorative project that is suitable for making it a year to further deepen and expand the relationship. 

Let's make 2023 the year that marks the beginning of a new era for both Japan and Vietnam. I strongly believe that we should advance further cooperation in the future. It is important to take the direction of increasing the number of frameworks for security cooperation. In particular, I think we need to think about cooperation in game-changing fields.

Under Abe Shinzo’s administration, Japan had several initiatives to promote peace and security in the region and the world. How will Japan continue implementing the policy?

In Northeast Asia, where Japan is located, the environment surrounding Japan from a security perspective is becoming increasingly severe year by year. 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe advocated Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) for international cooperation. 

In Japan's domestic affairs, the Japan Coast Guard has increased its budget to protect the borders of Japan, a maritime nation.

In addition, the Japan Coast Guard's hardware, software, technology and skills are linked with ASEAN countries and others, and training is conducted. 

Now, under the leadership of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, we will continue to advance the Ministry of Defense budget to 2 percent of GDP in the form of inheriting the policy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Japan has been promoting FOIP. What can you say about the policy and how Japan will continue Abe’s heritage?

In light of the growing tensions in the world in the 21st century, FOIP, which the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had been advocating to the world, continues to have a great impact in a positive way, especially on countries that advocate democracy. 

The Shinzo Abe Initiative for Peace and Security not only aims to commemorate the late Japanese Prime Minister, honor his succession and continue his contributions to the world, but also to connect the leaders in the world (leaders of governments, parliaments and enterprises), scholars, thinkers and creators who are accompanying, dedicating, struggling and building a world of peace, security and prosperity. What do you think the initiative will bring to the cause of peace and security protection?

As the question pointed out, I want to produce results. For that reason, we take valuable technology from around the world and bring it to you. We will recommend that in Japan and Asia.

It is especially important to build a game-changing regional cooperation system. In a sense, we must prevent existing conflicts and potential conflicts that want to change the status quo. To that end, I believe international cooperation and consensus is important.

Could you please comment about the Shinzo Abe Initiative for Peace and Security and Japan's cooperation with the Boston Global Forum?

Japan is the third largest economy in the world by GDP. I think there is a responsibility as a major power. On the other hand, Japan also has many problems. How can we find a solution to this problem in the future? I believe that Japan should ask not only its own country but also the countries of ASEAN for their cooperation in addressing these issues that Japan must resolve.

Lan Anh

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