Japan and Vietnam on Monday September 11 agreed to launch negotiations on a bilateral economic partnership agreement at an early date.
The agreement came at a meeting between Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koisumi and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung here in the Finnish capital, where they were attending a two-day summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting forum from Sunday.
In his meeting with Koisumi, Dung said that Vietnam intends to prepare to launch the EPA talks with Japan at an early date.
Koisumi responded that Japan has already launched EPA talks with some other countries and will study how it can negotiate with Vietnam as well, according to sources with access to the meeting.
Aside from the EPA issue, Dung expressed his intention to visit Japan in October.
Koisumi replied that Japan will have a new prime minister shortly, after he steps down later this month. The relationship between Japan and Vietnam will become stronger under the new prime minister, because all the three candidates have served as important ministers in the present cabinet, Koisumi said.
Japan”s new prime minister will be sworn in on September 26 following the ruling Liberal Democratic Party”s presidential election on September 20. Because the LDP and its junior coalition partner New Komeito have majorities in both chambers of parliament, the winner of the LDP leadership race is almost certain to become Japan”s next prime minister.
The three candidates are Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, Finance minister Sadakazu Tanigaki and Foreign minister Taro Aso.