KATHMANDU: Japan has shown interest in developing economic partnership with Nepal. It has asked Nepal to submit an economic partnership proposal to boost bilateral economic relations, said Ministry of Labour and Transport Management (MoLTM) secretary Babu Ram Acharya.
Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) will boost the Nepali labour market in Japan. “It is an entry point into the Japanese labour market,” he said adding that Nepal’s remittance based economy will flourish if Nepal and Japan go ahead with the agreement. The Nepal government should take the initiative as it is not the task of the ministry alone, he added.
Japan has a large labour market in agriculture, fishery, service and industrial sectors. Caregiver sector alone can provide thousands of jobs from next year, he said.
Three officials — Minister for Labour and Transport Management Mohammad Aftab Alam, secretary
Babu Ram Acharya and a section officer — had gone to Japan on November 22 last year to start the Japan International Technical Cooperation Organisation (JITCO) process as soon as possible. The team had met the Japanese labour minister as well as foreign minister, JITCO officials and JICA president.
Japan’s response for the JITCO process is promising and it wants to start it soon, said Acharya. MoLTM is preparing directives to start the JITCO process — sending industrial trainees (IT) to Japan — within a month. The directives will include service fee, criteria of selection of ITs and responsibilities of outsourcing agencies.
“If all goes well, Nepali
foreign employment
agencies can send Nepali ITs from December,” he said. In May, MoLTM selected 172 outsourcing agencies for JITCO. Under the JITCO system, ITs should have to work for one year as trainees and two years as interns in Japanese industries. They will get 50 per cent salary during their stint as trainees, he said.
Nepal and Japan had signed JITCO agreement in December 2003 giving the sole right to the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) to send Nepali ITs. But FNCCI failed to send a single IT till 2008. The umbrella organization sent six ITs in the beginning of this year. “JITCO is satisfied with performance of those Nepalis trainees,” said Acharya, “It has responded positively on the issue of more jobs for Nepali ITs in Japan.”
The new development of JITCO started from May 12, 2008 after Japanese officials requested the Nepal government to expedite the process. “Actually, JITCO started from 2008 and the first batch of Nepali ITs will go to Japan soon,” he said. JITCO has opened 122 industrial sectors for Nepalis.