WORLD IN BRIEF : VIETNAM : Japan Premier Vows to Support Reforms
Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, comparing Vietnam’s poor but bustling capital to Japan’s postwar rebuilding four decades ago, pledged support for Hanoi’s free-market reforms. Murayama was making the first visit to Vietnam by a Japanese leader since the Vietnam War. Vietnamese Premier Vo Van Kiet asked Murayama for more Japanese investment and economic aid, and even added a pitch for a Hanoi-Tokyo air route. Japan gave Vietnam $600 million in aid last year, but is only the seventh-largest foreign investor in the country. Murayama told Kiet that Japan wants to play a part in Vietnam’s economic development but warned of a need to improve Hanoi’s investment climate.