“I Was Deeply Impressed by the Ideas and Activities of President Ho Chi Minh”

10:30:21 AM | 27/12/2011

The statement comes from Mr Hideaki Sato, Advisor to VCCI Japan in an interview with Vietnamese Business Forum regarding his contributions as well as that of VCCI Japan in promoting the Vietnam - Japan relationship over the past 20 years. Bich Loan reports.
Reportedly, you were awarded by Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations a medal "For peace and friendship between peoples" in 2010. Could you tell us about the meaning of this award?
In 2010, the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO) awarded me a medal “For peace and friendship between peoples,” which is quite a priceless honour. Furthermore, in 2011, VUFO again commended me, as one of 20 persons in the world who have contributed to peace and friendship around the world.
I realize that those awards from VUFO were given not only to me, but to both me and especially to the staff of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), with whom I have worked together for the past 20 years in promoting friendship, trade, and investment between Vietnam and Japan. In the initial stage of my activity with VCCI, I mainly worked with H.E. Mr Doan Duy Thanh, former Chairman of VCCI, after his career as Deputy Prime Minister. And I believe the medal was given for him too, not only to me.
The first medal was awarded by Mr Vu Xuan Hong, president of the VUFO, in the year of the 60th anniversary of November 17, 1950, the day on which President Ho Chi Minh sent a congratulatory telegram to the World Peace Preservation Committee of Vietnam commemorating the founding of the latter organization, which is a peoples’ international organization established under the leadership of President Ho Chi Minh. That day, November 17, 2010, was a very important anniversary for the VUFO, and I am very proud of having been given the award by the VUFO in that memorable year. I hear that the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the committee was held on November 19, 2010, and that President Ho Chi Minh was commended on that day as the person who made the greatest contribution for bringing peace to Vietnam. After I received that medal, I spent a few days with other medal receivers who came from around the world to follow the historical traces of President Ho Chi Minh.
Also, at the end of last year, I had an opportunity to attend a lecture on the thought and character of President Ho Chi Minh, together with several Japanese Diet members, at the head office of the Communist Party of Vietnam, for which experience I also am very thankful. I was deeply impressed by the ideas and activities of President Ho Chi Minh, which have been regarded as so valuable by the Vietnamese people, and once again I became aware of the importance of the awards that I had received.
 For the past 20 years, how has VCCI Japan boosted Vietnam – Japan trade and investment?
Among the activities of VCCI Japan in the past 20 years, the most remarkable one that I remember was the endeavour to invite to Japan H.E. Mr Do Muoi, who at that time was the general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, together with the VCCI’s former Chairman, H.E. Mr Doan Duy Thanh. H.E. Mr Do Muoi’s visit to Japan paved the way for increasing Japan’s ODA to Vietnam, which currently amounts to nearly JPY200 billion per year. His visit to Japan founded the future economic relationship between these two countries. I admire H.E. Mr Doan Duy Thanh for his foresight, planning ability, energy, and ability to influence others. He had a clear view of future actions to be taken during rough times hardly ever seen in Vietnam. I am profoundly grateful for having the opportunity, as a Japanese partner, to help and cooperate with such a great person, to realize such an important visit of the top leader of Vietnam to Japan.
Another memorable activity of VCCI Japan was the holding of a seminar for Japanese auto-parts manufacturers with representatives of Vinh Phu Province when Toyota Motor Corporation and Honda Motor Co. decided to build factories in Vietnam, which was a turning point for Japanese companies investing in Vietnam. That seminar was the first instance of activities to promote the advancement of Japanese parts and other supporting industries into Vietnam, activities which are now widely conducted by various organizations, including VCCI and many Japanese bodies.
What sectors do you think still have room for further Vietnam – Japan cooperation? What are your recommendations to the two governments and relevant agencies to optimize their potential and further promote bilateral relations between the two countries?
As is known worldwide, Japan was hit by an unprecedented disaster in 2011. Since then, there has not been much good news about the Japanese economy. However, before that disaster, Japan had already started experiencing a decline in its population, which is rapidly aging, and the attitude of the Japanese people toward labour had been changing. Accordingly, the owners of small businesses have been finding it difficult to find successors for their skills and techniques, which were the basis of Japan’s earlier economic growth. Such skills and techniques have been nurtured by close relationships between the owners of such businesses and working people, relationships that are rarely found in large-scale mass-production factories. Some Japanese owners of such small businesses want to establish factories in Vietnam and to transmit their skills and techniques to Vietnamese people. Their skills and techniques are quite important, and they reflect valuable know-how. I hope that young talented business people and workers in Vietnam will succeed in mastering such useful skills and know-how.
Also, I want to emphasise the agricultural area. I want to contribute to promoting Vietnamese agriculture, whose methods pay attention to protecting the environment and maintaining food safety. For that purpose, soil improvement, or use of alternative energies such as biomass based on natural cycles, will increase the abundance of Vietnamese agriculture. I wish to contribute to Vietnamese agriculture by promoting the harmony of the environment, human beings, and agricultural production.
What do you and VCCI Japan plan to do in the coming time to further promote relations between Vietnam and Japan?
As I stated above, I was deeply impressed by the achievement of President Ho Chi Minh through my precious experiences in Vietnam last year. I value having a cooperative relationship with the Vietnamese people, who, in discharging their responsibilities, respect the thought and life of President Ho Chi Minh, and who uphold his noble spirit. It is difficult for me to establish a friendly relationship with those who seek immediate profit and who criticize others in order to achieve that goal, as is commonly seen in an age of high economic growth. I believe that those people proceed in the direction exactly opposite to the ideas of President Ho Chi Minh.
Under the dark outlook for the world economy at present, the future of emerging nations is not clear. At this time, I would like to cooperate with the Vietnamese people who reflect on themselves based on the ideas and actions of President Ho Chi Minh, and to cooperate with the staff of VCCI and its related organizations, the staff who make sincere efforts. If there are such young Vietnamese people, I will assist them as much as possible in spite of my old age.