The Hanoitimes - The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will maintain close coordination with the Vietnamese Government as the biggest official development assistance (ODA) partner of Japan, according to JICA Representative Chief Mori Mutsuya.
Speaking at an annual press conference in Hanoi on April 1, he revealed that his agency will work with Vietnam in 13 new technical cooperation projects and hold 83 training courses in the 2015 fiscal year, focusing mainly on infrastructure and urban transport development, social affairs and the enhancement of global competitiveness.
Vietnam is currently the largest recipient of official development assistance (ODA) from Japan , he said, adding that JICA is currently implementing over 150 technical and loan cooperation projects in the Southeast Asian country.
JICA Representative in Vietnam Chief Mori Mutsuya at the press conference in Hanoi on April 1
Vietnam and Japan have signed a loan agreement of 36.3 billion JPY (302.4 million USD) for the second phase of construction of the Thai Binh thermal power plant and the power transmission line.
Most recently, the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam signed a diplomatic note to provide 112.4 billion JPY (936.4 million USD) in ODA for seven socio-economic development projects in Vietnam .
The two countries also inked loan agreements for the fifth phase of the climate change adaptation programme and the second phase of construction of the Ben Luc-Long Thanh section of the north-south highway, worth a combined 46.3 billion JPY (385.7 million USD).
In 2015, JICA aims to sign ODA loan agreements worth at least 165.6 billion JPY (1.4 billion USD) with Vietnam , the JICA official said, adding that whether this can be done depends on the Vietnamese side, which has cumbersome administrative procedures.
Social affairs are also a target of JICA activities in Vietnam , he said, noting that his agency has supported Vietnam to set up a free hotline for human trafficking prevention and victim support as well as designing health handbooks for mothers and children, narrowing gaps in healthcare and improving preventive health services.
In addition, JICA will help Vietnam increase its competitiveness in anticipation of the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and its participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).
The agency will focus on projects to expand partnership between Vietnamese and Japanese small- and medium-sized enterprises; reforming State-run businesses and managing bad debts; amending the Law on competitiveness; and assisting with the enforcement of the Law on intellectual property.
In 2014, JICA helped Vietnam complete three major projects: the T2 passenger terminal at the NoiBai international airport; the Nhat Tan Bridge; and the Vo Nguyen Giap street, all of which contributed to reducing the travel time from the Noi Bai airport to downtown Hanoi by 20 minutes.
It also helped the Vietnamese Government to issue Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) standards to improve the income of farmers and develop safe and sustainable crop production.