ECONOMYNEXT – Japan has donated one million doses of AstraZeneca Coronavirus vaccines to Vietnam of which 800,000 will be used in Ho Chi Minh City, the industrial power house of the South, which has seen a sudden upsurge in Coronavirus, a report said.
“As an ‘Extensive Strategic Partner’, Japan is cooperating extensively with Vietnam in many fields,” Consul General of Japan to Ho Chi Minh City Nobuhiro Watanabe was quoted as saying in Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre Online news portal.
“This grant is a testament to the deep friendship between Japan and Vietnam, showing solidarity to join hands to overcome difficulties during the pandemic for the country and the whole world.
Vietnam and Japan signed an Extensive Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity in Asia in 2014.
In 2020 Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide made his first overseas visit to Vietnam. Japan is a top investor in Vietnam and trade partner. Vietnam, as part of ASEAN, is also a comprehensive economic partner of Japan.
Sri Lanka has also sought AstraZeneca vaccines from Japan.
Sri Lanka’s economic and trade policy is driven to protect so-called import substitution businesses that exploit consumers with high import duties also causing ripples in foreign relations.
Vehicles from Japan are taxed at over 200 percent, and are now banned along with automobiles made by other countries. Import bans have been placed on a range of goods as money printing in 2020 triggered forex shortages.
The European Union has protested the controls, saying it is a top buyer of Sri Lankan exports.
In May the third train for a light rail transit built by Japan arrived in Ho Chi Minh City and drivers are being trained.
Sri Lanka suddenly cancelled a Japan funded LRT which took several years to design. A Japanese consultancy firm involved in the project has sought damages from Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile Japanese businesses in Vietnam has contributed 39.2 billion Vietnam dong to a vaccine fund set up by Vietnam.
“Japanese businesses really want the COVID-19 epidemic to be controlled so that business activities can return to normal as soon as possible,” Watanabe said.
“From the perspective of maintaining and developing economic activities of enterprises, I hope that the vaccination plan will be conducted smoothly and economic activities of Ho Chi Minh City – the largest economic city in Vietnam will be carried out smoothly.
Vietnam is becoming more important to Japan with stronger supply chains. Watanabe said Japanese businesses are keen to invest in Vietnam despite the pandemic.
An earlier Coronavirus outbreak which was killed by Vietnam was discovered when Tokyo tested a returning Japanese business travelller from a factory.
The Consul General of Japan acknowledged that Vietnam’s role is becoming more and more important to Japanese businesses, as well as its deeper attachment to supply chains in the global economy.
He affirmed that “even in the context of being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses continue to pay high attention to Vietnam and are ready to invest”.
Ho Chi Minh City was authorized to import and use Coronavirus vaccines on its own. (Colombo/June18/2021)