Vietnam and Japan have signed 12 agreements and MoUs in different fields, showing the strengthening relationship between the two countries, especially in the labor market.

The agreements and MoUs were signed at a meeting between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Japanese Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai, as an important part of Mr. Nikai’s visit to Vietnam from January 11 to 14.

It is the largest scale visit from Japan with a delegation of more than 1,000 representatives of Japanese companies and State agencies, reflecting the two countries’ strategic partnership in a wide range of fields.

Among them, cooperation in investment and labor is given focus. The two sides agreed that they would cooperate to eliminate predatory businesses for better working environments for Vietnamese workers.

Japan plans to invite 150 Vietnamese students to Japan over the coming five years as part of a youth exchange between two countries. More skilled Vietnamese workers are also expected to be sent to Japan following the new agreements and MoUs.

A new Japanese law will allow about 345,000 foreign blue-collar workers to enter the country over a period of five years in 14 sectors, such as construction and nursing care, which face acute labor shortages. In 2018, Vietnam sent nearly 70,000 trainees to Japan, accounting for more than 50 per cent of workers admitted by Japan, according to the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MoLISA). Nearly 200,000 Vietnamese workers and trainees are now working in Japan.

The two countries will also strengthen cooperation in trade, tourism, and other fields in the region, especially in the context of Vietnam being a coordinator of ASEAN - Japan relations for the 2018-2021 period, holding the post of ASEAN Chair 2020, and being a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure. They will also share knowledge acquired through their experience in responding to natural disasters.

Japan is one of the largest investors in Vietnam with some $8 billion worth of FDI last year, accounting for 31 per cent of all foreign investment in the country. This was the fourth consecutive year that investment projects from Japan to Vietnam have increased, reaching a record of 630. Japan currently has nearly 4,200 projects in Vietnam with total FDI of $57.9 billion.