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VN festival kicks off in Japan

A Vietnamese festival opened yesterday in the port city of Yokohama, Japan, to promote cultural exchange and tourism between Viet Nam and Japan.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai cut the ribbon at the event, which was organised by Vietnam Airlines in co-operation with the Vietnamese embassy in Japan.

The festival marks the 10th anniversary of the first non-stop flight between HCM City and Osaka.The three-day event, which is being held at the JATA Exhibition Hall in Yokohama, will focus on Vietnamese folk culture.

Visitors will be able to see Vietnamese artisans making non (conical palm-leave hats), toy figurines, and embroidery. They will also be able to taste food and buy crafts from different parts of Viet Nam.

The event will feature performances from Vietnamese fashion models in traditional ao dai dresses and a national folk music and dance ensemble.

Nearly 50 trade, tourism and transportation companies will participate in the festival, which is Vietnam Airline’s largest festival abroad.

Vietnam Airlines handles the bulk of the flights between Viet Nam and Japan, with 21 flights a week to Tokyo, Osaka and Fukaoka, said Nguyen Xuan Hien, president of the airline.

The number of Japanese passengers who travelled to Viet Nam increased nearly ten times to 300,000 from ten years ago, he said.

Vietnam Airlines, in co-operation with Japanese Airlines, is preparing to offer non-stop service from HCM City to Nagoya, a city to the west of Tokyo, Hien said.

Since 1999 Vietnam Airlines grown annually by 15 to 18 per cent, although it, along with other regional airlines, was hit hard by SARS and bird flu.

VNCG-VDC1 - (07/06/2004)

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