Japan-Nepal Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
October 8, 2014
On October 8, Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida held a Japan-Nepal Foreign Ministers’ Meeting over dinner with H.E.Mr. Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, who was making a working visit to Japan upon invitation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The overview of the meeting is as follows.
Minister Kishida said that Japan and Nepal have maintained traditionally friendly relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations and he wants to further strengthen cooperation on policy matters as well. Touching upon the importance of firm establishment of democracy in Nepal, Minister Kishida conveyed Minister Pandey Japan’s intention to continue to support Nepal’s efforts. Furthermore, Minister Kishida thanked Minister Pandey for visiting Hiroshima and offering flowers at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and said that he would like to cooperate with Nepal in the field of disarmament and nonproliferation.
In response, Minister Pandey expressed his gratitude for the invitation to visit Japan and said that this was the first time for him to visit Hiroshima and that he reaffirmed the importance of peace. He also said that his visit to Japan has been meaningful because it has allowed him to see Japan’s outstanding science and technology. Minister Pandey explained that the Constituent Assembly members are now discussing to formulate a new constitution in Nepal and the constitution will form the foundation for the development of the nation.
2. Bilateral relations
Minister Kishida expressed his strong hope for progress in the process of formulating a new constitution in Nepal. He explained that Japan once dispatched the Japan Self-Defense Forces personnel to the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) and it intends to provide support for initiatives aimed at establishing democracy in Nepal, including assistance in the development of the legal system. Minister Kishida also proposed setting up a political dialogue between Ministries of Foreign Affairs of both countries.
In response, Minister Pandey said that Nepal is making efforts to formulate a new constitution at an earliest date although the process is taking time and that he believes formulating the constitution will be the basis for Nepal’s national development. Minister Pandey also said that he appreciates Japan’s proposal to commence a political dialogue, which Nepal has long waited to hold.
With regard to economic cooperation to Nepal, Minister Kishida said that the Government of Japan will continue to support Nepal’s sustainable and balanced economic growth through the development of infrastructure such as transportation and energy. In response, Minister Pandey appreciated Japan’s support in areas such as infrastructure, education and hydroelectric power generation and expressed his hope for Japan’s continuous support in agriculture, tourism and the development of infrastructure among others.
Regarding people-to-people exchange, Minister Kishida said that he would like to invite football-related people from Nepal as part of “Sport for Tomorrow”, a program to contribute to the international community through sports. Minister Pandey replied that the Japan-Nepal relationship should be strengthened through exchanges in various fields, including business and academic, in addition to governmental exchanges, and it will lead to a stronger bilateral relationship.
3. Regional affairs
With regard to Japan’s cooperation with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Minister Kishida said that Japan attaches importance to Japan-SAARC cooperation, as shown by initiatives such as the holding of Japan-SAARC Energy Symposiums on an ongoing basis and that he hopes to further strengthen cooperation in this regard. Minister Pandey explained that the SAARC summit meeting will be held in Nepal in November and said that as the host country Nepal hopes it will be an opportunity to discuss how regional integration can serve for the peace and prosperity of the region.
The two ministers also exchanged views on regional affairs and the enhancement of cooperative relations in various fields such as disarmament and nonproliferation, disaster reduction and the United Nations Security Council Reform.