Japan-Bhutan Relations

June 23, 2018
Japan-Bhutan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting1
Japan-Bhutan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting2

On Saturday, June 23, from 9:45 a.m. (local time) for approximately 50 minutes, Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs held a foreign ministers' meeting with H.E. Mr. Damcho Dorji, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bhutan during his visit in the Kingdom of Bhutan. The overview of the meeting is as follows. 

Ahead of the meeting, there was an exchange of notes concerning the "Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship" grant aid to Bhutan between Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Bhutan (concurrently with the Republic of India) and H.E. Mr. Vetsop Namgyel, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bhutan to Japan, in the presence of the two foreign ministers.

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  1. Minister Kono expressed gratitude for Minister Dorji's visit to Oiso Town in April this year with H.E. Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister of Bhutan. Minister Kono stated that he was happy to be the first Japanese Cabinet minister to visit Bhutan, and explained that he intended to further strengthen the relationship between the two countries through his visit. Minister Kono stated that Bhutan and Japan shared universal values such as democracy and Japan attached importance to Bhutan. He further reaffirmed Japan's commitment to Bhutan's development and longstanding friendship based on the idea that the stability of Bhutan led to the peace and stability of the entire region. In response, Minister Dorji first extended a warm welcome to Minister Kono as the first Japanese Cabinet minister to visit Bhutan, and stated that he wished to advance the bilateral relationship together with Minister Kono.   
  2. Minister Kono explained that Japan continued to provide strong support for Bhutan's economic and social development on the basis of Bhutan's 12th five-year plan even after Bhutan's graduation from least developed country (LDC) status. He also showed his willingness not only to enhance bilateral economic cooperation but also trade and investment. In response, Minister Dorji expressed his gratitude for the support by Japan thus far, and his expectation for Japan's continued support in the future.
  3. Minister Kono showed his willingness to further promote people-to-people exchanges, including through the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in Bhutan, and projects in the field of sports such as inviting the first Paralympic athlete training coach from Bhutan in July this year and establishing a judo hall. In this regard, Minister Dorji looked forward to seeing the growing interest in Japanese language as a result of holding the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in Bhutan. He further stated that he hoped to cooperate with the Government of Japan to realize the dispatch of Bhutan's first Paralympians to the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020. Furthermore, with regard to the increasing number of Bhutanese exchange students registered in Japanese language schools, the two foreign ministers agreed to work closely together to ensure the students' primary goals to be achieved effectively.
  4. Furthermore, the two Foreign Ministers exchanged views on global challenges and international affairs. In particular with regard to North Korea, Minister Kono stressed the importance to fully implement the United Nations Security Council resolutions based on the outcome of the U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting. Minister Kono also requested Bhutan's support on the abductions issue and Minister Dorji showed his understanding in this regard.

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