Laos, Japan discuss enhanced cooperation

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Planned leadership capacity building for high-ranking Lao officials, macro-economic management, sustainability, and infrastructure development for Laos have been discussed between Laos and Japanese senior officials in Vientiane.

The discussions took place during the meeting between Lao Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Khamphao Eunthavanh, and State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Ms Toshiko Abe, who visited Laos early this week.

The implementation and timeframe of the cooperation projects agreed to by the Lao and Japanese prime ministers topped the discussions.

These included the project on enhancing leadership capacity building for high-ranking Lao officials, macro-economic management, Laos-Japan cooperation for Laos’ sustainable development, the Vientiane-Hanoi expressway feasibility study, and cooperation between the Laos Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The two sides highly valued the persistent strengthened cooperation ties and the continuous implementation of the strategic partnership between both countries.

The regular exchange of visits of high-ranking leaders and officials at various central and local levels was highlighted at the meeting between senior foreign affairs officials from the two nations.

Laos and Japan have encouraged mutual exchanges of views on regional and international issues, and mutual support on various stages since the two countries established diplomatic relations on March 5, 1955.

Preparations for the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations, which commences next March, were also discussed.

Laos donated four Asian elephants to Japan, and thousands of Japanese blossoming Sakura trees were planted in Huaphan province to mark 60 years of diplomatic relations in 2015.

According to information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, some 860 Japanese nationals resided in Laos (as of October 2017), and around 2,800 Lao nationals resided in Japan (as of June 2018). Laos exported cloths, foodstuff, materials, and chemical products to Japan valued at 16.8 billion yen (around 1.3 trillion kip) in 2017, and imported steel manufactured products, automobiles, and textiles valued at 13 billion yen (around 1 trillion kip).

As of October of the same year, there were 135 Japanese companies operating in Laos.

Japan currently ranks as the top donor for infrastructure and social development projects in Laos. Last March, the government of Japan approved grants of US$32 million to Laos for development initiatives in electricity, health and transportation.

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