The Vietnam-Japan Friendship Year got underway with a function at Ho Chi Minh City's Legend Hotel Saigon last week.
The year also marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The launch, organized by the Japanese consulate in the city, was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, Japanese ambassador to Vietnam, Yasuaki Tanizaki, ministers, and representatives from Vietnam-Japan friendship organizations.
Le Manh Ha, deputy chairman of the city People's Committee, said many cultural and artistic activities would be held through June to mark the 40th anniversary.
Since the two nations established diplomatic ties in 1973 there has been constant growth in all bilateral fields, he said, pointing out that Japan was the first among the Group of Seven rich nations to set up a strategic partnership with Vietnam, which it did in 2009.
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