State President Tran Dai Quang chaired a welcome ceremony in Hanoi on March 1 for Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, who are in Vietnam for a State visit.

During a meeting following the ceremony, President Quang and his spouse warmly welcomed the Emperor and Empress on their first ever State visit to Vietnam, describing the visit as a historical event in the history of Vietnam-Japan relations, according to a report from the Vietnam News Agency.

The President expressed his belief that the visit would contribute to strengthening mutual trust and understanding between the two people as well as their sentiments towards each other, thus further expanding the extensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and Japan.

President Quang thanked the Japanese Emperor and Empress, the Royal Family, as well as the Japanese Government and people for the warm sentiments they have given to Vietnam over the years.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko expressed their delight at their first-ever visit to Vietnam and thanked the Vietnamese side for its warm welcome.

The two sides reviewed the long-standing bilateral relations, which began in the 8th century when Vietnamese Great Master Phat Triet came to Nara - Japan’s capital at the time - to practice Buddhism and conduct cultural exchange activities, while Japanese traders used Hoi An Port in Vietnam in the 16th and 17th centuries.

They also expressed pleasure at the rapid and sound progress in Vietnam-Japan ties over the last nearly 45 years, while sharing the common hope of further bolstering the friendship and cooperation between the two countries in the future.

Emperor Akihito said that the historical exchange laid down an important foundation for the two sides to boost their partnership for their respective development as well as for the growth of the Vietnam-Japan friendship.

At the meeting, President Quang and his spouse introduced the Japanese guests to the diverse and unique identity of Vietnamese culture, which has absorbed world cultural features.

They said they wish to welcome more members of the Japanese Royal Family in 2018, when the two countries celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

The Emperor and Empress are noble symbols of the nation and the solidarity of Japanese people. They only visit abroad on special commemorative events with partners sharing close relations with Japan.

Emperor Akihito, who has long shown his warm sentiments towards Vietnam, has been supporting Royal Family members to strengthen exchanges with Vietnam.

Vietnam and Japan have enjoyed the best friendship ever. They have built political trust and stepped up cooperation at regional and international forums.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko also laid a wreath and paid tribute to late President Ho Chi Minh at his mausoleum in Hanoi.