Analysis

Foreign Minister Gyawali hails Japan’s Reiwa era

Speech by Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister for Foreign Affairs, at a Symposium on
“Reiwa Era: Japan’s Foreign Policy and Nepal-Japan Relations” organized by
Japanese University Alumni Association, Nepal (JUAAN)

H.E. Masamichi Saigo, Ambassador of Japan to Nepal,

Former Nepali Ambassadors to Japan,

Distinguished Paper Presenter,

Members of JUAAN,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Namaste/Good Afternoon! Konichiwa!

At the outset, I would like to thank the Japanese Universities Alumni Association (JUAAN) for organizing this symposium on a very important and timely theme.

Similarly, I would like to thank Prof. Dr. Khadga K. C. who is going to have an excellent presentation on Reiwa Era, Japan’s Role and Prospect in Changing Global Power Dynamics. I hope, Prof. K. C. will touch upon almost all aspects of Nepal-Japan relations. Valuable comments by eminent discussants will throw light on the importance of the topic. I would like to briefly touch on the theme of today’s symposium.

We are happy that our friendly country Japan has entered a new era after the accession to the throne by His Majesty Emperor of Japan Naruhito in May 1, 2019.  On this auspicious occasion, I would like to congratulate the Government and the people of Japan and express best wishes for the continued peace and prosperity of the friendly people of Japan. There will be high-level representation from Nepal in the coronation ceremony of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan in October this year.

Nepal and Japan are traditional friends. Both countries have been enjoying cordial and friendly relations marked by mutual respect, trust, understanding and cooperation ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1956. These relations have been further strengthened by the exchange of high-level visits at different times. My visit to Japan last year and the return visit of the Foreign Minister of Japan His Excellency Taro Kono within two months of my visit have helped further nurture our relationship.

Nepal and Nepali people have tremendous love and goodwill towards Japan and Japanese people. Buddhism has brought our two countries and peoples closer. We have strong people-to-people contacts. In this context, I would like to recall the visit of a Japanese Buddhist Monk Rev. Ekai Kawaguchi who visited Nepal in 1899 on his way to Tibet in search of holy Buddhist scriptures. He was the first Japanese national to visit Nepal. He introduced Nepal and the birthplace of Lord Buddha – Lumbini – to the Japanese people through his writings and publications. He laid the foundation of the people-to-people relations between Nepal and Japan. Since then, the people-to-people contacts between the two countries have been expanding. Currently, over 85,000 Nepali people are engaged in various professions in Japan.

Our relations cover political, economic, cultural and people-to-people dimensions.

Japan has been one of the major development partners of Nepal for long time. Japanese development assistance to Nepal dates back to early 1950s. Both countries have signed the Agreement on Technical Cooperation in 2003, under which Nepal receives cooperation in the fields of training, Japanese experts, volunteers, study missions, project type assistance, machinery and equipment, and development studies. Truly speaking, the cooperation of Japan has reached the grass root level in Nepal.

We are happy to note that Kulekhani Hydropower Project, Dhulikhel-Sindhuli-Bardibas Highway Project, TU Teaching Hospital, Nagdhunga Tunnel Construction Project, Improvement of Water Supply System in Pokhara, School Sector Reform Programme, Human Resources Development (JDS) Scholarship are some of the major projects under cooperation of Japan. Government of Nepal highly appreciates Japan for its continued support and cooperation in the socio-economic development endeavours of Nepal. Japanese projects are highly appreciated for their quality and modern technology.

We welcome the decision of the Government of Japan to enlist Nepal as a source country for inviting Nepali workers in the Japanese labour market. The signing of Memorandum of Cooperation on the specified skilled workers in March this year has added new dimension of bilateral cooperation in the labour field.

Tourism is another promising area where both countries have tremendous prospects for cooperation. Every year a significant number of Japanese tourists visit Nepal. In this connection, I am happy to share with you that Nepal Airlines Corporation is going to operate its direct flight between Kathmandu and Osaka sector from early July this year. We are also expecting direct flight of Nepal Airlines Corporation between the capital cities of the two countries.

We believe that operation of these flights will significantly contribute in making the Visit Nepal Year 2020 a success.

We appreciate Japan for its active role as an observer in the SAARC. The establishment of SAARC-Japan Special Fund (SJSF) has facilitated implementation of many activities since its inception in 1993.

As the current Chair of the SAARC, we sincerely appreciate the Government of Japan for its assistance to SAARC members in various fields.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The world is in the state of flux. New developments are taking place with speed and pace not witnessed before. The change has both positive as well as negative prospects.  Safe and secure future of the world depends on the proper management of change.

The world is interconnected and interdependent. Interdependence among the countries across the world is growing stronger. Cooperation among the countries is expanding and deepening. Yet trends of unilateralism, protectionism and populism are also rising. This has generated confusion, uncertainties and contradictions.

It is known to all that geo-political weight of Asia is growing. Global balance of power is shifting to this part of the world. With the changes in global power structures, norms and values are also naturally redefined. Increasing competition for either maintaining or gaining supremacy is the fact of the day.

We need a peaceful and harmonious world where all countries get opportunities to grow and prosper. We stand for a just, fair, inclusive and equitable world order founded on the principles of sovereign equality, mutual respect, non-interference and cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Japan’s rapid socio-economic development within a short span of time has been notable. It has the experience of growing out of the worst devastation caused by the rivalries among the powerful countries. It truly understands the value of peace and harmony.

I am confident that the new Reiwa Era, that is interpreted as a beautiful harmony will be successful in developing harmony among different countries and civilizations. It will be successful in promoting commonalities that bind us together.

To conclude, once again I would like to thank the JUAAN for organizing this important symposium. I believe that compilation of today’s in-depth discussions will be useful for all readers.

Thank you!

Published on 24 May 2019

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