Vietnam allows firework imports for upcoming Tet

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A fireworks display at Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi on Lunar New Year's Eve in 2013. PHOTO: NGUOI LAO DONG

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has allowed the import of 20,000 boxes of fireworks from Japan for the upcoming Lunar New Year's Eve, which falls on January 30.

The Ministry of Defense's Z121 factory, the country's sole producer of fireworks, said Friday it is preparing necessary procedures to  import the fireworks from its long-term Japanese partner, Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper reported.

The approval followed a proposal from the defense ministry, which said its factory could not meet the country's demands after an explosion at the factory's production unit in the northern province of Phu Tho destroyed a large quantity of fireworks in October.

The explosion killed 26, injured nearly 100 people and caused property damages of more than VND50 billion (US$2.35 million) at the factory and surrounding houses.

The ministry said due to the fireworks' destruction, Z121 can only meet demand in the country's five biggest cities  Can Tho, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City for Tet.

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It said given that the country's annual demand is around 30,000 boxes, the factory will only import 20,000 for a bare minimum demand. 

The government collected opinions from relevant agencies, including Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Industry and Trade, and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, on the move, and they all backed it.

But the proposal was met with mixed opinions by both the public and government officials.

Those who support the idea said fireworks displays are a tradition and a specialty for Tet, while those opposed called the import "unnecessary," "wasteful" and the money for it should be spent on helping disadvantaged people.

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