Japan plans to invite Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang to visit Japan in mid-March as a state guest, sources in the government and the ruling coalition said.
Sang is expected to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well as Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, and give a speech in the House of Representatives on March 17 or 18. The gesture indicates Tokyo is aiming to demonstrate amicable ties with Vietnam, which like Japan is involved in a territorial dispute with China, but in the South China Sea.
Sino-Japanese ties have been strained over the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which both China and Taiwan claim.
It will be Sang’s first visit to Japan since assuming the presidency in 2011.
Sang and Abe are expected to confirm the principles of maritime security, including the rule of law and freedom of navigation, with an eye on China, and it is also likely they will discuss Japan’s support for Vietnamese nuclear plant construction, the sources said.