Officials confirmed Dung's arrival and said he was scheduled to attend a dinner with members of the Japanese parliament later in the day, before talks with Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda on Monday.

On Tuesday, Dung will tour Japan's northeast coast, hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

According to Japanese media, Noda is expected to confirm that Japan will help build two nuclear reactors in Vietnam, despite the atomic plant crisis at Fukushima triggered by the March natural disaster.

On a visit to Vietnam a year ago, then Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan announced with Dung that the two countries would join forces in the nuclear reactor project.

Noda and Dung are also expected to reach an agreement on joint development of rare earth minerals in Dong Pao in Vietnam's northwest.

Two Japanese trading houses, Toyota Tsusho and Sojitz, will set up a joint venture with Vietnamese enterprises to start production of the rare earths in 2013, the business daily Nikkei reported last week.

Mines in Dong Pao are rich in such rare earths as lanthanum, cerium and neodymium which are indispensable for production of liquid crystal display panels and motors for gasoline-electricity hybrid vehicles, the daily said.

The two governments will inaugurate a research centre in Hanoi in 2012 to develop technology to separate rare earths from mineral ores and refine them without harming the environment, the Nikkei said.

Accompanied by his wife Tran Thanh Kiem, the Vietnamese premier is also scheduled to call on Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at Tokyo's Imperial Palace on Wednesday.

Agence France Presse - october 31, 2011


Japan, Vietnam reaffirm cooperation on nuclear power, rare earths

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan and Vietnam agreed Monday to continue their cooperation on nuclear power and joint development of rare earths produced in the Southeast Asian country.

Under a joint statement signed between Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung, Vietnam has "expressed its strong desire for the provision of nuclear technologies from Japan."

Japan, for its part, assured Vietnam it will provide technologies that "represent the world's highest level of nuclear safety."

Whether or not countries would still import Japan's nuclear power technology has attracted attention since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami triggered the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which continues to spew out radiation.

Japan secured contracts last year to build two nuclear reactors planned for central Vietnam.

In the statement, Japan vowed to boost nuclear safety by sharing lessons learned from the nuclear crisis with "utmost transparency."

Dung told trade minister Yukio Edano, in a separate meeting earlier in the day, that he wants to make his nation's import of Japanese reactors a "symbol of their strategic bilateral relationship," according to Japanese government officials.

Noda and Dung also welcomed the progress made since Vietnam's prime minister agreed on the development of rare earth resources with Noda's predecessor, Naoto Kan, in October last year.

Japan has been keen to jointly develop the elements with Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations where the resources are said to be relatively unexploited, as China currently controls more than 90 percent of global supplies.

The minerals are crucial for making high-tech goods including smartphones and hybrid cars.

On regional issues, Noda and Dung also reaffirmed that peace and stability in the South China Sea is the global community's shared interest and that freedom of navigation should be protected.

Mainichi Japan - November 1st, 2011