Facebook comes to the rescue
A Literature teacher in a mountain district in central Nghệ An province late last month wrote a poem about not being paid as usual in the middle of January, making preparations for Tết difficult. He posted it on Facebook as an open message to the chairman of the province’s People’s Committee.
First lines of the poem by teacher Phan Thúc Định from mountainous Quỳ Hợp 2 High School simply states.
I don’t know for which reasons
I have not received my salary while it’s January 31.
You, a former teacher, might understand that
Late payment makes us so much confused.
Định’s poem quickly received thousands of “Like” and “Share”, especially from teachers, but, unexpectedly, it reached its target and brought a positive response from chairman of Nghệ An Province People’s Committee, Nguyễn Xuân Đường.
Đường called relevant officials to verify the problem and then told them to address the problem. They responded without delay.
Principle of Quỳ Hợp 2 High school, Nguyễn Đức Ngộ, told Pháp luật thành phố HCM (HCM City Law) newspaper that on February 1, January’s salaries were transferred to teachers’ bank accounts.
He said that salaries were usually paid in the middle of every month, but last month, they were late because the financial and education departments were still busy completing documents for the last fiscal year as well as spending estimates for new year.
Teacher Định now has another problem – and may have to send another Facebook message to the world to try and solve it.
Even when his pay does arrive through his bank, he has to travel many kilometres over rough roads to another town to get it from an ATM. This often means queuing up for hours behind other salary earners just as desperate for Tết cash.
Court move could clear all footpaths
The People’s Court in District 10 in HCM City has asked a restaurant owner to pay VNĐ140 million (US$6,100) in compensation to a man who had his motorbike stolen from outside his restaurant.
This in itself was an eye-opener, because it must be the first time in Vietnamese history that a business has been forced to cough up for a motorbike stolen from one of its customers.
The ramifications are national, throwing open the responsibilities of every shop-keeper and restaurant in Việt Nam. Does this now mean that the millions of illegally parked motorbikes on the streets of Việt Nam are now the responsibility of the restaurant, shop or bia hơi their riders are visiting?
Tongues will not stop wagging for months if this is the case… and shops and restaurants will think twice about encouraging customers to park out front.
But let’s get back to the courtroom. On top of being told to repay $6,100 for the stolen bike, the restaurant owner, known simply as N.H.C., was also asked to pay court costs of VNĐ7 billion (US$307,000). Yes, you heard right, more than $300,000 greenbacks – enough to buy a house and three or four motorbikes.
The District 10 People’s Procuracy, which carried out the judgement, protested at the sky-high costs. It said the court fees were obviously a miscounting mistake, insisting the restaurant owner should pay only VNĐ7 million. The court is rethinking its claim.
According to the indictment, on March, 2, 2013, a man named Đ.V. Hoàng drove his motorbike to the restaurant on Đồng Nai Street, but he paid for his meal he found his motorbike was gone. It was not his machine, but owned by his sister and was bought in 2010 for $8,530.
Hoàng asked the restaurant owner for compensation of VNĐ140 million, but the restaurant owner refused.
Hoàng sued the restaurant and last month, District 10 People’s Court agreed with his claim,telling the restaurant owners to not only pay Hoàng VNĐ140 million for the loss of the bike, but another VNĐ7 billion in and court fees in the last five years.
The fun starts now.
Wide range of specialties on offer at 2018 Spring Fair
More than 350 enterprises, producers, and business establishments from around the country are taking part in the 2018 Spring Fair which officially opened at the Hanoi Cultural Friendship Place on February 5.
Covering an area of nearly 6,000 square metres, the fair offers 600 pavilions featuring a range of different commodities; textiles and garments – leather footwear, appliances, food, confectionary, flowers, bonsai, and local specialties.
The highlight of the event is the display of products and specialties from numerous provinces and cities around the country, such as southern fruits, Tan Cuong tea (Thai Nguyen), Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, and Phan Thiet fish sauce, Cao Phong and Vinh oranges, and Ly Son onions and garlic.
A range of imported products are being showcased at the fair such as sweets and fruits, healthcare products and home appliances from Russia, the Republic of Korea, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Belgium.
Outdoor spaces are reserved for various kinds of beverage, with the participation of leading enterprises in the drinks industry, helping visitors have a greater selection to choose from as they make preparations for the Lunar New Year festival.
Sophisticated handicrafts as well as items to be used as offerings and feng shui products at the fair have attracted a large number of visitors.
The annual Spring Fair has become a meaningful and attractive event for people to enjoy the atmosphere of Tet festival.
The event will run until February 12.
Traffic safety program launched in primary students, teachers
The Ministry of Education and Training along with the National Committee of Traffic Safety and Toyota Company Vietnam have launched “Toyota Traffic Safety Education Program” (TSEP) for primary pupils and teachers.
The annual program aims to raise students’ awareness of traffic regulations and safety and driving skills contributing to build traffic culture amongst young people.
The program includes two major activities comprising of training driving skills for teachers and primary students in provincial and national level.
For instance, driving skill training will be organized in the northern provinces of Yen Bai, Thai Nguyen, Hai Phong; the central provinces of Quang Tri, Quang Ngai; the highlands province of Kon Tum and the southern provinces of Ba Ria- Vung Tau, Binh Duong in February and March.
Students will learn basic knowledge and safe driving skills from paint pictures or topics of traffic, musical performance about traffic safety.
Teachers deliver lesson on traffic safety and call for students to take part in seminar on teaching renovation of traffic safety in primary schools.
Ten cities and provinces will participate in the national level program which will be selected from provincial-level program. It is scheduled the national –level program will be organized in March.
English Champion contest 2018 kicks off
Many students from 1,926 primary and junior high schools nationwide yesterday entered the English Champion Contest 2018.
Around 30,728 students registered to participate in the English competition. This is a biggest number of students taking part in the competition since its debut five years ago.
Annual English Champion Contest 2018 is organized in the country by IvyPrep Education and iSMART Education.
The first round was held yesterday with the participation of 30,000, 60 percent of them are fourth and fifth graders and the remaining are sixth, seventh and eighth students.
Statistically, 70 percent are students from big cities such as Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City while 30 percent are from many provinces including mountainous and island districts namely Vi Xuyen in the northern province of Ha Giang, Con Dao island district of the southern province of Ba Ria- Vung Tau and Don village of the highlands province of Dak Lak.
This year, the number of participants in HCMC skyrocket with 18,047 registered students accounting for 60 percent of total candidates.
Winners of the 2017 WeChoice Awards announced
Winners of the 2017 WeChoice Awards were honored at a ceremony at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 7 on February 4.
This year’s list of the top 10 Most Influential People on the Internet in 2017 conists of Ms. Nguyen Thi Xuan, 94, who spent 50 years to wait for her husband; actress and film producer Ngo Thanh Van; singers Son Tung-MTP, Min, Chi Phu, Only C; beauty blogger Changmakeup; the eSport Young Generation, a professional League of Legends team based in Vietnam; Tran Dang Khoa who travelled around the world by motorbike; and a group of male teachers of Tri Le Primary School in the northern province of Nghe An.
The list of the top 6 Most Influential People voted by the Appraisal Committee includes Ms. Nguyen Thi Xuan; actor Quoc Tuan who has a child with Apert Syndrome and spent 15 years struggling his son’s symptoms; symptoms; “Vietnam’s start-up Queen” Truong Thanh Thuy (also called Thuy Muoi); actress Ngo Thanh Van; the Vietnam women’s national football team; and the Vietnam national under-23 football team.
The organization board also presented the titles to celebrities in the field of entertainment, including “Outstanding Activity of the Year” to singer Duc Phuc; “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” to Son Tung-MTP; “Best MV” to Son Tung-MTP for his biggest hit, Lac Troi (Lost); “Best album” to pop star My Tam for her latest work, “Tam 9”; “Best underground musical product” to Xesi, Masew and Nhat Nguyen for their song “Tuy am”; “Best feature film” to the movie “I’m not 18 yet”; “Best TV film” to the TV serial Nguoi Phan Xu (The Arbitrator).
Members of the Appraisal Committee include President of the Ho Chi Minh City Peace Committee, Ton Nu Thi Ninh; General Director of VCCorp, Duong Vu Thang; journalist Le Quang Minh, director of VTV24 channel; Meritorious Artist Thanh Loc, journalist Tran Mai Anh, founder of “Thien Nhan and Friends” program.
Launched in 2015, the award aims to honor people with their inspirational stories and outstanding contribution towards the development of society.
Vietnamese classical opera presented in HCM City
A project on Hat Boi (Vietnamese classical opera) is being presented to visitors at the Garden Mall in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 5 from February 1-10.
Vietnamese classical opera presented in HCM City
The event with the participation of 40 artists and around 100 volunteers working in different fields will organize a variety of activities including a contemporary exhibition, performances of Vietnamese classical opera.
The project aims to keep the tradition of Hat Boi, Tuong alive in the community, reserve the classical art form and foster a love for this particular kind of music among the people.
Mekong Delta region to hold fireworks shows at lunar New Year’s Eve
Fireworks and music performances will be organized on the lunar New Year’s Eve in many cities and provinces in the Mekong Delta region to mark Tet holidays.
Kien Giang province plans four firework displays and music performances in Rach Gia City, Ha Tien Town, Phu Quoc and An Minh districts, announced the provincial Departemnt of Culture, Sport and Tourism.
Meanwhile Can Tho City will hold a high-range firework shows in Ninh Kieu Dsitrict; and 5 low-range firework displays in Vinh Thanh, Co Do and Thot Not districts, Phong Dien and Thoi Lai towns.
Long An province will see spectacular fireworks displays in 6 locations, including Tan An City, Kien Tuong Town, districts of Duc Hoa, Ben Luc, Can Duoc and Can Giuoc.
All fireworks performances will be funded entirely from socialization source.
Annual Book Street Festival for Tet to open on February 13
One of the most expected events in Ho Chi Minh City during Tet holidays, the annual book stret festival, will take place from February 13-19, or the 28th day of the 12th lunar month to the fourth day of the lunar new year.
This year’s event themed “Vuon mam tri thuc- Khat vong vuon cao” (Stimulating knowledge, rising aspiration) will be held along the main city streets including Mac Thi Buoi, Nguyen Hue and Ngo Duc Ke.
The event will present to viewers Ho Chi Minh City’s achievements; rare ancient and valuable publications on the late President Ho Chi Minh; photos, documents and objects related to the Mau Than Offensive 1968; maps, photos, documents and artifacts which affirm Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes.
The festival will also display thousands of copies of publications of various genres such as politics, culture, history, literature and economics, and universal knowledge by leading publishers in the country.
The annual event that has been held for 12 consecutive years and attracting more than one million visitors each year, is aimed to promote reading and increase knowledge of the culture, traditions and tourism of the city, and highlight Vietnamese’s traditional Tet.
Ministry requires smooth operation of TSN airport at Tet
Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho has urged the management of Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC to work with the local government on measures to address traffic congestion, as transport demand is poised to grow strongly in the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet), news website Vietnamnet reports.
At a working session with airport authorities over the weekend, Tho said the airport is a traffic hotspot during the holiday when travel and freight transport demand soars. Therefore, there need to be appropriate arrangement of takeoff and landing time, with more flights taking off and arriving at night to reduce congestion during the daytime.
Besides, more attention should be paid to traffic connectivity. The HCMC Department of Transport is asked to add more buses to busy routes and cooperate with aviation agencies to enhance connection between public transport and the airport.
The deputy minister asked airlines to reduce flight delays and provide passengers with detailed takeoff and landing time. The airport should ensure sufficient staff on busy days, improve service quality, and ensure that security and other procedures will be done in a prompt and proper manner.
Commuters should be promptly informed of congested areas so that they can choose other routes.
According to Tran Doan Mau, director of the Southern Airports Authority (SAA), Tan Son Nhat International Airport is expected to handle nearly 26,300 aircraft movements during Tet, up 20% against the same season last year, and serve 4.1 million passengers, up 25% year-on-year.
On average, the airport will have 953 aircraft movements a day, with 44 per hour in the daytime and 37 per hour at night.
Flight frequency of domestic airlines would increase by 10-15% year-on-year, serving more than 134,200 passengers a day.
A representative of the airport said that as congestion often occurs on Truong Son Street and in front of the domestic terminal, the airport management will allow vehicles to be temporarily parked in two areas, one inside the airport and another at 58 Truong Son Street, during traffic jams. The two parking lots have a combined capacity of 500-700 cars at a time.
A master plan for festivals – why not?
It can be seen as a right move at a right time when the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism at a meeting last Friday clarified its viewpoint that festivals in the country will be reviewed, and solutions taken to correct or even root out those festivals deemed as unsuitable. A temporary solution, as stated by Deputy Minister Trinh Thi Thuy at the meeting, is that most bull-fighting festivals and those of similar nature nationwide – except for the Do Son Bull-Fighting Festival that has been recognized as national heritage– will not be allowed this year.
The ministry’s argument is clear-cut: all public events that cannot be ascertained to be traditional festivals, and those whose contents incite violence, cruelty or superstition shall not be approved. The deputy minister explained that traditional festivals should be aimed at preserving traditional values, promoting heritage merits, and meeting the people’s spiritual demands.
In fact, many festivals nationwide have over the years stirred up public grievances as they fail to meet aforesaid criteria. Graphic contenton bulls or pigs being slashed to death or decapitated, pictures of people bloodily fighting each other for lucky balls, and scenes of people cramming small banknotes into the hands of Buddhist statues at pagodas or temples to pray for good luck have alarmed serious degradation of cultural and moral values. Such so-called festivals – whose main goal to a large extent is to reap easy bucks – have eroded the nation’s cultural identity on one hand and cause economic losses on the other.
Statistics by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism show that there are nearly 9,000 festivals organized countrywidea year, meaning there are some 22 festivals a day. Millions of people are engaged in such festivals, and tens of millions of working days are lost due to such events, which can hardly be beneficial for the economy.
In fact, there have been numerous complaints about the traditional Tet holiday when many people, especially those in rural areas, tend to distant themselves from work for weeks or even over a month despite a much-shorter period off work regulated by the labor ministry, leaving many head-scratching employers with a severe shortage of laborers after Tet. At a time of rising international economic integration, for many employers local and foreign alike, such a long period off can hardly be accepted.
Tet is also the peak of the festive season, and it often ushers in many spring festivals in the country.
Therefore, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s move to trim down the number of festivals is seen a positive approach.
However, there needs to be a more daring approach to festivals. All must be reviewed, screened and evaluated, and only those that genuinely hold social, economic or spiritual merits should be allowed. To do so, great efforts must be taken to forge a strategy, or a master plan for festivals.
Ministry disapproves of toll cuts in Khanh Hoa
Following the Ministry of Transport’s instruction, Khanh Hoa Deo Ca BOT Investment Joint Stock Company will not offer toll reductions to vehicles registered by people living or working in 16 communes near the BOT Ninh An tollgate in Khanh Hoa Province as proposed by drivers and enterprises earlier.
Lao Dong newspaper quoted Vu Hai Long, deputy director of the company, as saying that his company has to observe the guidance of the ministry and cannot arbitrarily reduce tolls. He added that the company can only propose toll cuts and has no power to decide.
According to the Ministry of Transport in an urgent document with regard to the proposed toll cuts at the BOT Ninh An tollgate, the company’s suggestion to offer a 100% toll reduction for vehicles of group 1 with transport business is not in accordance with the ministry’s directive.
The ministry only agrees on additional toll reductions for other vehicles, meaning those of groups 2, 3, 4 and 5, in nearby areas within a five-kilometer radius of the tollgate.
Besides, the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam was asked to learn from the case at the BOT Ninh An tollgate and prevent similar incidents at other tollgates.
As reported by local newspapers, the operator of the BOT Ninh An tollgate on January 4 agreed on a 100% fee reduction on vehicles of group 1 in 17 communes of the province’s Ninh Hoa Town and refunds monthly tolls to vehicle within a radius of ten kilometers.
The toll fee reduction, applicable on January 5, came after an agreement between the tollgate operator and drivers. In addition, the operator planned to seek the ministry’s approval for 50% toll cuts for vehicles of groups 2, 3 and 4 and would give an official reply this month.
Trial on Đà River broken pipes starts on March 5
The trial of nine former officials who are allegedly responsible for the 18 successive times ruptures of the Đà River pipeline will begin on March 5, the Hà Nội People’s Court announced on Monday.
The officials include three from the management board of the Đà River water supply construction and investment project: former director Hoàng Thế Trung, former deputy director Nguyễn Văn Khải and former supply division head Trương Trần Hiển.
Also on trial are Trần Cao Bằng and Vũ Thanh Hải, respectively, former director and deputy director of the Vinaconex Glass Fiber Reinforced Polyester Pipe company, which manufactured the water pipes for the Đà River project.
The last defendants are Đỗ Đình Trì, former head of the consultant and monitoring team of the Việt Nam Water, Sanitation and Environment Company (VIWASE), and its officers Nguyễn Biên Hùng, Hoàng Quốc Thống and Bùi Minh Quân.
Construction on the Đà River water pipeline project started in 2004 and was finished five years later. The line, however, broke for the first time in February 2012 and after that ruptured another 17 times.
Constant broken pipelines halted water supply to 177,000 households in Hà Nội for a total of 386 hours.
The incidents also forced the Vinaconex Water Supply company – the operator of the pipeline – to pay more than VNĐ16.6 billion (US$737,700) to fix the broken lines.
Inspections by the Ministry of Construction confirmed sub-par pipes caused all the ruptures.
The nine defendants were reported to have signed 73 product quality checks to confirm the quality of over 5,000 pipes and other parts. Many were later proved to be of low quality.
They were all charged with breaching construction regulations causing serious consequences.
The trial is expected to last for 10 days.
More households in Đắk Lắk to get electricity
Some 250 villages in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk will be linked to the national power grid by 2022, says the provincial Department of Industry and Trade.
In the first phase of the project, at least 29 villages, with over 2,000 ethnic households, have been supplied electricity ahead of Tết (Lunar New Year).
The six-year project was implemented in 2016, with a total investment of VNĐ887 billion (US$39.4 million).
The project includes building and upgrading hundreds of kilometres of medium- and low-voltage lines and transformer stations to bring electricity to communes and hamlets, making their daily lives and economic activities easy.
Lưu Văn Khang, deputy head of the power management office, said there were 221 villages that were still not connected to the national grid.
Local authorities have directed construction units to accelerate power supply projects to help all households get access to electricity by 2020, Khang said.
Đắk Lắk has the highest number of communes and households with electricity in the Central Highlands region.
PM calls for preventive measures against cold wave
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has issued an official dispatch on urgently dealing with the cold wave that is affecting cattle and people alike.
The dispatch asks the people’s committees of provinces and cities in the north and north central regions to adopt plans and preventive measures against the cold wave.
According to statistics of the Department of Livestock Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the cold spell has so far killed more than 2,000 cattle.
The mountainous province of Cao Bằng has been the worst hit, with 670 cattle reportedly dead, followed by Lào Cai Province (440 cattle), Điện Biên Province (400 cattle) and Hòa Bình Province (250 cattle).
The Central Hydrology Meteorology Forecast Centre predicts that the cold wave will continue to prevail in the north and north-central regions for a couple of days. These provinces may witness a strong cold spell after Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday, the centre said.
To cope with the situation, the Prime Minister has ordered the people’s committees to direct relevant agencies and local authorities to support local people in deploying measures to protect animals and plants.
According to the dispatch, localities can use its reserved budget for preventive work and support poor households or policy beneficiary families to buy food for cattle and warm up cattle farms as well as purchase biochemical substances to enhance the resistance of plants.
It is the responsibility of the local governments to report about the damage to the MARD so that timely assistance can be provided to affected farmers.
The People’s Committee of provinces and cities are accountable for the loss if it is caused as a result of not following instructions to care for cattle and plants in this weather.
The MARD has been assigned to frequently inspect, monitor the implementation of preventive measures against the cold wave and prepare plans for production recovery.
The Ministry of Health has been ordered to give recommendations on warming-up measures and ensure that adequate medicine is stocked in case of emergency.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has been requested to closely monitor the weather and give regular updates on mass media, while the Ministry of Information and Communications has been asked to direct press agencies to report more on the weather so as to keep the public informed.
Meanwhile, mountainous provinces in the northern region have actively come up with solutions to fight the cold wave.
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Điện Biên Province has adopted plans in response to the cold wave, which has caused damages to agricultural production and animal breeding.
Phạm Thị Tuyên, head of the Division of Agriculture and Rural Development of Điện Biên Province’s Tuần Giáo District, said the division had urged farmers to reinforce stables and store more feed for animals. The division is also working with local authorities to disinfect and clean up stables.
Farmers from Quài Tở, Quài Cang and Tỏa Tình communes have moved thousands of buffaloes and cattle to warmer areas to avoid the bad weather, Tuyên said.
In the northern mountainous province of Hà Giang, the People’s Committee of Quản Bạ District, in collaboration with functional agencies, has instructed farmers to protect 21,000 buffaloes and cows. No death from cold or starvation among the cattle has been reported from here.
Similar actions have also been carried out by Hòa Bình Province’s Department of Livestock and Veterinary to help people protect 6.6 million cattle.
“We have requested farmers not to graze cattle if the temperature drops to below 12 degree Celsius and to maintain a larger feed storage than usual”, said Bùi Văn Phượng, head of Yên Thủy District’s livestock and veterinary station in the province.
Bad weather cuts off Lý Sơn Island residents
Thousands of households in the central province of Quảng Ngãi’s Lý Sơn island District have been cut off from the mainland due to the ongoing cold spell and strong waves.
The residents have been isolated for more than a week now.
Lê Tấn Hải, director of Sa Kỳ Port Management Board, told zing.vn on Monday that high-speed and transport ships travelling from Sa Kỳ Port to Lý Sơn Island and vice versa were forced to suspend operations over the week due to strong wind and waves.
“Goods, essentials and dozens of Kumquat tree pots for Tết (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) festival are stuck at Sa Kỳ Port due to prolonged bad weather,” Hải said.
Some people who want to return home early have rented fishing boats in Quảng Ngãi City’s Tịnh Hòa Port despite the dangerous weather, he said.
The port management board has called on the provincial Department of Transport for timely measures to protect people’s lives and property.
Nguyễn Viết Vy, secretary of Lý Sơn Island District’s Party Committee, said strong waves prevented thousands of local households from going to the mainland to buy food for Tết.
Local authorities have asked Coast Guard Zone 2 to mobilise special ships to help fishermen return to their homes in Lý Sơn Island if the bad weather persists, Vy said.
The provincial hydrometeorological station predicts that the cold spell will ease gradually from Wednesday.
Naval force records positive performance in 2017
The Vietnam People’s Navy carried out all solutions it has set to consolidate soldiers and officers’ political and ideological firmness and strengthen training to enable its force to fit a variety of tasks, especially combat readiness on ships, in islands, and off-shore platforms.
The Vietnam People’s Navy reported its performance in 2017 at a press conference held in Hanoi on February 6.
The navy has maintained its regular patrols at sea ports and on territorial seas to promptly notice and deal with any emerging problems and operations conducted by foreign countries, helping firmly maintain the peaceful environment, the relations with other countries, and political stability in the country.
Attention was also given to logistics activities and the modernisation of weapon and other specialised equipment, heard the conference.
Search and rescue missions were also a highlight of the force in 2017, with 160 campaigns launched and 7,000 personnel deployed. These helped save 85 people on islands and off-shore platforms, and 190 people in distress at sea, and support 200 ships to reach safe shelters during stormy seasons.
The navy has made efforts in boosting bilateral and multilateral cooperation with their peers from the ASEAN member nations and Vietnam’s neighboring countries and defence partners. In 2017, it received 317 foreign delegations and 17 international naval ships, which came to Vietnam for visits and exchanges.
At the conference, Major General Tran Hoai Trung, Political Commissar of the Vietnam People’s Navy, asked the media to continue promoting the force’s protection of national sovereignty at sea, particularly concerning the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes.
He suggested the coverage of the navy’s work in human resources training to build a regular, modern, and competent marine force.-
Yokohama labour union – reliable friend of Vietnamese people
Protesting the war in Vietnam and supporting Vietnamese people in the struggle for national reunification in the 1960s and 1970s were one of the core activities of the Labour Union of Yokohama city, Japan.
Senior members of the union shared their memories about these activities with Vietnam News Agency’s reporters on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of Vietnam-Japan diplomatic ties (September 21, 1973).
The union, founded in December 1947, organised many meetings opposing the US war in Vietnam, gathering large number of peace lovers in the city. News stories reporting the US air force’s bombing in the north of Vietnam as well as the worldwide movements protesting war in the Southeast Asian country were hung at public places in Yokohama, drawing public interest at that time.
From early 1965, the movement against the US war in Vietnam developed strongly. In September 1966, the Labour Union of Yokohama coordinated with trade unions around the globe to protest the US war in Vietnam. Numerous demonstrations took place across the city. Added to this were activities to raise funds to send medicines and essential goods to support Vietnamese people.
Morita Kenichi, former President of the Yokohama Labour Union in the 1985-1992 period, was a pioneer in anti-war activities. To prevent the US forces at the North Piece military base in Yokohama from sending military trucks to the south of Vietnam, on August 5-6, 1972, the union mobilised over 500 youths to stage a demonstration at the nearby Murasame bridge to stop the trucks. Morita led the demonstrators, who received warm support from city dwellers, hence successfully forcing the US army to cancel its plan to send military trucks to Vietnam. This event grabbed the headline on the front page of many Japanese newspapers at that time.
During a visit to Vietnam in 1983, Morita had an opportunity to meet then Prime Minister Pham Van Dong who conveyed his gratefulness to Yokohama people for their valuable assistance for Vietnamese during the wartime.
Two other senior members of the Yokohama Trade Union, Yoshizawa Teiko and Motoyoshi Ryokichi also actively participated in anti-war activities in Yokohama. They continued to work for the friendship between the two nations in peace time.
As chairman of the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Association, Motoyoshi regularly organises people-to-people exchanges and activities to support Vietnamese expatriates in Japan.
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