Culture ship to berth in HCM City
Update: Nov 25, 2008
The Nippon Maru, a ship that set sail from Japan carrying 328 youth ambassadors from Japan and the 10 member nations of the ASEAN grouping at the end of October, will dock at HCM City's Sai Gon Port tomorrow, Nov. 26th, 2008.

The sailing trip spanning 11 countries takes place every year under a cultural exchange programme funded by the Japanese Government.

The programme aims at promoting friendship and mutual understanding among the youth of Japan and Southeast Asian countries, broadening their perspectives and acquainting them with the history and culture of each nation.

The programme is open to exceptional young people between 18 and 30 years of age who have been chosen from many hopeful candidates to represent their countries on the ship's annual voyage.

This year, Viet Nam has 29 representatives aboard the cultural exchange vessel. Le Quoc Phong, deputy secretary of the municipal Communist Youth Union, says that after arriving HCM City, the young people will live with local families in the city to directly experience local culture and lifestyles.

Around 200 families from nine districts in the city will host the youth delegates. Also tomorrow, the' youth will present cultural facets of their respective countries in a performance at the Youth Cultural House; and on Thursday, they visit the Dai Nam Tourist Cultural Historical Zone in Binh Duong Province.

Japan first launched the programme in conjunction with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand in 1974. Viet Nam sent its first representatives in 1996, after joining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Programme organizers hope it will foster in all of the participants a spirit of leadership they can take back to their respective countries.

The Nippon Maru will leave for Manila, the Philippines on Saturday, Nov. 29th, 2008.
Viet Nam News