October 15, 2018
From September 12 to 14, JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka visited Vietnam. On the trip, Mr. Kitaoka gave a presentation entitled “The Meiji Restoration and the Rise of Modern Japan” at a seminar co-sponsored by the Central Committee of Organization (CCOP), the Communist Party of Vietnam, and the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam as one of a series of events held to commemorate 45 years of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Japan. He also toured an ODA project sites and met with key government personnel.
JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka, center, tours Cho Ray Hospital
On September 13, Mr. Kitaoka visited Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Japanese cooperation with the hospital started in 1969, in a pioneering initiative in Japanese health-care cooperation. He praised the role that the hospital has played in improving health-care services and the capacity of health-care workers in the southern part of Vietnam, and he affirmed that JICA cooperation would continue for further enhancing the functions of the hospital.
Talks with Nguyen Thien Nhan, secretary of the Central Party Committee of Ho Chi Minh City
Mr. Kitaoka also met with Nguyen Thien Nhan, Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City’s Central Party Committee. Mr. Nhan expressed his gratitude for JICA's cooperation for fundamental infrastructure such as the Ho Chi Minh City Urban Railway and stressed the importance of addressing climate change. Mr. Kitaoka replied with thanks for Mr. Nhân’s leadership in efficiently implementing those ODA projects, and stated that JICA intends to further deepen relations between Vietnam and Japan through partnerships with local governments, companies and various other entities.
Subsequently, Mr. Kitaoka visited the construction site of the Ho Chi Minh City Urban Railway Construction Project (Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien Section (Line 1)), where he confirmed the importance of urban rail in Ho Chi Minh City because of traffic congestion, an increase in traffic accidents, severe air pollution and other problems.
The following day, Mr. Kitaoka met with Mai Tien Dung, minister and chairman of the Office of the Government, and attended the signing of a record of discussions (R/D) with the Office of the Government for “the Project to Build Professional and Efficient State Operation for Improvement Business Environment,” a technical cooperation project. Mr. Dung expressed a strong desire to promote electronic government (e-government), as well as his hopes and appreciation for the planned transfer of Japanese knowledge and the improvement of officials’ capacity through technical cooperation.
The presentation at the seminar held by the Central Committee of Organization (CCOP), the Communist Party of Vietnam
Mr. Kitaoka subsequently met with Phạm Minh Chính, chairman of CCOP, and then gave a presentation on the theme of “The Meiji Restoration and the Rise of Modern Japan” at a seminar co-sponsored by the CCOP and the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam. Since the Meiji Restoration, Japan has become modernized by incorporating Western knowledge while maintaining its traditional culture. Because the CCOP is taking similar steps to develop human resources to handle administrative reform and changes in the economic environment, a request had been made for a talk on the Japanese experience in human resource development and other advancements that occurred at that time. Using online connections to all 63 provinces of the country, about 2,300 people listened to Mr. Kitaoka's presentation. It was followed by an address by Mai Van Chinh, vice chairman of the CCOP, in which he welcomed the adaption of that Japanese experience.
In his presentation, Mr. Kitaoka said that during the Meiji Restoration, Japan underwent a comprehensive transformation to a meritocracy. He described this as a critical factor in modernization as it engendered an environment of intense but cooperative rivalry in which everyone strove for excellence. Other factors he cited for the successful modernization included the equal opportunities given to everyone regardless of the social status they had under the former class system and the strong ambition people had to study and work for the sake of their country.
Talks with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc
After the presentations, Mr. Kitaoka met with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and they discussed issues such as the direction of ODA utilization going forward and the challenges faced by current ODA projects. Mr. Phuc stated that he was thankful for the cooperation from Japan and resolved to address those challenges quickly. He also said he was hopeful for cooperation toward further development in Vietnam. Mr. Kitaoka described the three pillars of JICA cooperation: 1) promoting economic growth and strengthening international competitiveness through infrastructure development and high value-added industry, 2) response to fragility such as environmental problems and climate change, and 3) good governance, including the training of the party and government leaders, and maritime safety and security.
Also, Mr. Kitaoka met with Dinh Tien Dung, minister of finance, and the topics they discussed included the macroeconomic situation, public debt management policy, challenges facing ODA in Vietnam, and the direction of ODA loan utilization. Mr. Kitaoka also spent time speaking with JICA volunteers.
As the Vietnam's largest development partner, JICA will continue to contribute to Vietnamese modernization and socioeconomic development.