Some 60 exchange students and former refugees from Vietnam met in Kawasaki on Monday to launch the first nationwide network of Vietnamese residents of Japan. Members of 10 different support groups for people who fled to Japan after the Vietnam War ended in 1975 marked the start of the Network of Vietnamese Associations in Japan, organizers said. The network is also open to students and anyone of Vietnamese descent, they said. There are an estimated 13,000 Vietnamese living in Japan. “Everyone here came because they want to overcome the barriers between us,” said Son Dinh Pham, who heads the network. Religious, political and generational differences have prevented Vietnamese from working as a group to improve the quality of their life in Japan, he said. “We have common problems,” Pham said, pointing to the bullying of Vietnamese children in schools. For more information, visit http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/ha/vi etnhat or send e-mail to: vietnhat@ha.bekkoame.ne.jp

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