KATHMANDU: Japan today signed an agreement to provide financial support of 250 million yen (approximately Rs 261 million) to Nepal for the increase of food production.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Japan’s Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba witnessed the signing of the deal between the Japanese ambassador to Nepal Kunio Takahashi and Finance Secretary Krishna Hari Baskota at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“The grant is extended for procuring the items necessary to increase food production in Nepal with special emphasis on underprivileged farmers,” read a press statement issued by the Japanese Embassy in Kathmandu. Arjun Bahadur Thapa, MoFA spokesperson, said Japan has been providing such assistance since long and we have to renew such MoUs on annual basis.
Japan has been extending Grant Assistance for the Increase of Food Production (KR2) to Nepal since 1977, one of the oldest grant programmes from Japan to Nepal. The last such grant was extended in Japan’s FY 2009, to the amount of 490 million yen.
Besides, Japan has also agreed to provide support for Nepal’s IT initiative by the Election Commission. The assistance includes trainings on XenServer management, PostgreSQL database management and information security. Earlier, it also provided internet servers for 25 strategic district election commissions.
During the talks, the Nepali side sought Japanese assistance for the construction of the Upper Seti hydropower project, said Lal Sankar Ghimire, Foreign Aid Division Chief at the Finance Ministry.
The DPR of the Tanahun-based project has been completed, and Japan was asked to provide half of its estimated cost – $350 million – through the Asian Development Bank.
Nepal also proposed Japan to build a new storage hydropower project, an excellent hospital for the treatment of serious injuries, modernisation of Tribhuvan International Airport, development of the Madhya Pahadi Lokmarga and resumption of Japan’s loan stopped since 2004 among others, added Ghimire.
“Japan has assured us it would continue its support from education to infrastructural development, and would do the same in the days ahead,” DPM and FM Shrestha told at a press meet in TIA.
Gemba also called on the President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. He met top leaders of major parties — Pushpa Kamal Dahal of UCPN-Maoist, Sushil Koirala of NC, Jhalanath Khanal of CPN-UML and Deputy PM and Home Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar.
“At all parlays, he expressed Japan’s support to Nepal’s ongoing peace and statue-drafting process,” said DPM Shrestha. Gemba, however, did not interact with the media during his entire visit.
This was the first visit by a Japanese foreign minister in 35 years. While describing the visit as ‘highly successful’, Shrestha added that the visit has strengthened bilateral relations. The visit also reflected Japan’s support to Nepal’s efforts towards achieving peace, stability and prosperity.
As Japan is a Buddhist country and also a techno-industrial country, PM Bhattarai sought Japanese assistance to Nepal during the Investment Year 2012 and Lumbini Year 2012, PM’s Press Adviser Ram Rijan Yadav told THT.
Gemba, who had arrived here on Saturday night, left Kathmandu for India, where he will spend two nights before heading to African countries.