KATHMANDU, April 29: Nepal has sought Japanese assistance for various major projects including hydropower development and road infrastructure during a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba in Kathmandu, Sunday.
During a meeting between Nepali Foreign Minister Narayankaji Shrestha and Gemba, Nepal sought Japanese assistance for the construction of Upper Seti Hydropower Project, a section of the Mid-hills Highway and a specialized hospital.
According to Joint Secretary at the finance ministry Lal Shankar Ghimire, who was also present at the meeting, Nepali side also sought Japanese assistance for modernization of Tribhuvan International Airport.
Addressing a press meet organized at the Tribhuvan International Airport after the departure of minister Gemba to New Delhi, Foreign Minister Shrestha said Japanese side has taken Nepal´s proposal positively. “He [Minister Gemba] has said that that he would give necessary instructions to make the visit fruitful,” said Shrestha.
During the talks, Nepali side had also asked Japan to resume providing the yen loan, popularly known as Japan´s Overseas Development Assistance, to Nepal for carrying out major development projects. Japan had stopped providing yen loan to Nepal since 2001.
While terming the visit “successful”, Shrestha said the visit of Japanese foreign minister after a hiatus of 35 years had helped strengthen the relationship subsisting between the two friendly countries and promote mutual assistance. “Above all, the visit of the Japanese foreign minister at this stage has shown Japan´s solidarity with the recent progress in peace process and constitution drafting process,” said Shrestha.
Japan agreed to extend a grant assistance of Rs 259 million to Nepal for increasing food production with special emphasis on underprivileged farmers. Japanese Ambassador to Nepal Kunio Takahashi and Finance Secretary Krishna Hari Banskota had signed and exchanged notes on behalf of their respective governments on the occasion. The grant will be used to procure items such as fertilizers to boost agricultural yields, thereby enabling the country to meet its growing food demands.
According to a press statement issued by the Embassy of Japan in Nepal, Japan has been extending grant assistance to Nepal for increasing of food production since 1977. The last such grant amounting Japanese yen 490 million was extended in the year 2009.
Likewise, Japan agreed to provide necessary technical support to the Election Commission through JICA.
Minister Gemba, who arrived in Kathmandu late Saturday evening, also paid a courtesy call to the President Dr Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. A luncheon party was hosted for Gemba at Annapurna Hotel where Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal and Madhesi People´s Rights Forum-Democratic Chairman Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar interacted with him.
According to the prime minister´s press advisor Ram Rijhan Yadav, Prime Minister Bhattarai while thanking Japan for continued support to Nepal, urged Minister Gemba for Japanese investment in view the Investment Year.
Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai shakes hands with Japan´s Foreign Affairs Minister Koichiro Gemba (L) during their meeting at the Prime Minister´s office in Kathmandu
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha shakes hands with Japan´s Foreign Affairs Minister Koichiro Gemba (L) during their meeting at the Prime Minister´s office in Kathmandu
Japan´s Ambassador to Nepal Kunio Takahashi (2nd L) and Nepal´s Secretary of the Ministry of Finance Krishna Hari Baskota (2nd R) after signing and exchanging notes in Kathmandu. Also in the picture are Japan´s Foreign Affairs Minister Koichiro Gemba (L) and Nepal´s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha.