Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2006

Main Text > Part II ODA DISBURSEMENTS IN FISCAL YEAR 2005 > Chapter 2 Details about Japan's ODA > Section 4. Operational Status of the Principle of ODA Implementation > 1. Nepal

1. Nepal53

Nepal shifted to constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy in 1990, moving towards democratization. However, since the inception of an armed Maoist movement in 1996 engaging in terrorist activities and calling for the total abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a communist state, a domestic situation of instability has continued, and democratization and peacebuilding have remained important challenges. Nepal is a least developed country (LDC) with the lowest income levels in the South Asian region and, as such, faces issues like poverty and social disparity. Japan, as Nepal's largest ODA provider, has extended its assistance, focusing on regional development through improvements in the social sector and agriculture, which are priority issues of development.

    In February 2005, King Gyanendra dismissed the Cabinet of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and seized complete control. Additionally, he took measures, such as the apprehension and house arrest of political figures and the censorship of media organizations, that limited the basic human rights and freedoms guaranteed under the constitution. In response, the Government of Japan took various opportunities to call strongly on the Government of Nepal to improve the situation for human rights in the country from the perspective of the importance of restoring basic human rights and freedoms. Concerning economic cooperation, Japan took a position of providing assistance by examining each individual project carefully with close monitoring of the situation for human rights and domestic conditions.

    With a dramatic increase in the nationwide pro-democracy movement in April, 2006, the King decided to restore the House of Representatives and devolve administrative authority to the people, leading to the start of specific efforts for the protection of human rights and democratization, such as the improvement in the situation for human rights, the inauguration of the party cabinet, and the reopening of peace negotiations with Maoists. Subsequently, given the continued improvement of the situation for human rights and the consultations being held between the seven party government and the Maoists for the holding of the election for constitutional assembly and peacebuilding, Japan reviewed the aforementioned policies set after February of the previous year. Although close attention will continue to be paid to the situation of human rights, Japan intends to carry out support that will directly benefit the impoverished people, with a focus on "reducing poverty in rural areas," and "support for democratization and peacebuilding."

    Regarding the project of equipment provision to the government-run radio station which had been under consideration due to the restriction on freedom of the press and other factors, the then Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Yasuhisa Shiozaki announced the implementation of the project when he visited Nepal in July, 2006. Thus, with the state of affairs improving, including the situation of human rights, Japan reviewed its policy on economic cooperation to Nepal. However, should the situation involving human rights and the restoration of democratization be deemed to have once again deteriorated, Japan will review the situation appropriately, including the revival of the previous policy.