Japan-Bhutan Relations

Japan-Bhutan Summit Meeting

April 11, 2018
Japanese

On April 11, from 6:30 p.m. for approximately 45 minutes, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, held a summit meeting with H.E. Dasho Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister of Bhutan during his visit in Japan. The overview of the meeting is as follows.

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    Photograph of the leaders shaking hands
    (Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)
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    Photograph of the salute and the guard of honor ceremony
    (Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)
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    Photograph of the Japan-Bhutan Summit Meeting
    (Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)

1. Beginning

(1) Prime Minister Abe welcomed the first meeting with Prime Minister Tobgay since 2014, and expressed his view that the amicable relationship between Japan and Bhutan is backed up by trust that has been cultivated through mutual visits by members of the Imperial Family and the Royal Family, economic cooperation and other exchanges. He further stated that he hoped this visit to Japan by Prime Minister Tobgay would help further advance the Japan-Bhutan relationship in all fields, including politics, economy, culture and people-to-people exchanges.

(2) In response, Prime Minister Tobgay expressed his appreciation for the warm hospitality of Japan, and deep gratitude for the economic cooperation that Japan has extended thus far in a broad range of fields. He also expressed his expectation that Japan will support Bhutan under the 12th FiveYear Plan, which Bhutan will commence in July this year to aim at graduating from least developed country (LDC) status.

2. Bilateral relations

(1) General discussion on bilateral relations

i. Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan attached importance to Bhutan as a partner with which Japan shares universal values such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and which is located in an important geographic point. Prime Minister Abe stated that he wished to further strengthen the bilateral relationship, hand in hand with Prime Minister Tobgay.

ii. In response, Prime Minister Tobgay expressed his respect for the leadership that Japan is showing in the interests of peace and prosperity in the international community and stated that Japan had the capacity to contribute to the peace and stability of the international community. He further showed his support for Japan’s becoming a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Prime Minister Tobgay said that the bilateral relationship has been growing stronger thanks to exchanges between the Royal Family and the Imperial family.

(2) Economic cooperation

i. Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan would support Bhutan’s socioeconomic development, including sustainable growth and the reduction of fragility, on the basis of the 12th Five Year Plan to be commenced later this year, and the importance of formulating the project on the power system master plan and constructing bridges which are currently being carried out. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan will consider a new project for securing opportunities for outstanding Bhutanese human resources to train in Japan, including young Bhutanese administrative officials.

ii. In response, Prime Minister Tobgay mentioned power tillers, bridges and other aspects of Japan’s support for the 11th five-year plan, thanked Prime Minister Abe for his expression of support for the 12th five-year plan etc., and furthermore expressed expectation over the new human resources training project.

(3) People-to-people exchanges

i. Prime Minister Abe explained that Japan has dispatched approximately 600 Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers and Senior Overseas Volunteers to Bhutan so far, and will go forward to explore dispatching further volunteers in fields such as policing, based on demand in Bhutan. Additionally, Prime Minister Abe welcomed that the number of Bhutanese studying the Japanese language in Japan is increasing, and explained that he hopes to cooperate to support their lives in Japan as exchange students.

ii. In response, Prime Minister Tobgay welcomed that Japan was considering dispatching volunteers in the policing and other fields, along with explaining that he hopes to cooperate toward holding the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test in Bhutan.

3. Regional affairs and international affairs

The two leaders held a frank exchange of views on regional affairs, including the issue of North Korea. With regard to North Korea, they reconfirmed that based on past experience, it is necessary to maintain maximum pressure until North Korea abandons all nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner. In addition, Prime Minister Abe requested understanding and cooperation towards early resolution of the abductions issue, and obtained Prime Minister Tobgay’s support.

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    Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address at the
    dinner banquet (Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)
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    Photograph of the joint press announcement
    (Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)