The National Assemblies and governments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) highly value the role played by Japan, President of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organisation (AIPO) Nguyen Van An has said. Mr An, also chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam, was speaking at a welcoming ceremony upon his arrival in Tokyo on May 27 for a five-day official visit to Japan as guest of the Japanese House of Councillors. Japan plays an important role in promoting ASEAN peace, stability, co-operation and development, particularly in narrowing the development gap between founding and new members, the AIPO leader noted. He said that with Japan's assistance, new ASEAN members, namely Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, have been on the track of regional and international integration. The mutual understanding between AIPO and the Japanese Diet has served as a driving force for boosting the relationship between ASEAN member countries and Japan, Mr An affirmed.

A representative of the Japanese Diet said Japan highly valued the role AIPO plays in promoting mutual understanding among nations. The AIPO president was accompanied by representatives of parliament from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and two observers from Brunei and Myanmar. During the visit, the delegation will meet with leaders of the House of Councillors and the House of Representatives, senior government officials and representatives of the business circles of Japan. NA Chairman An on May 27 called on the Vietnamese embassy in Japan. He briefed the embassy staff of the successful election of the eleventh National Assembly on May 19. (VNA).