"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Reply speech by Hon. Mr. Ramesh Nath Pandey, Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the Luncheon hosted by Japan-Nepal Parliamentary League for Friendship

[Place] Tokyo
[Date] July 11, 2005
[Source] Government of Nepal Ministry of Foreign Affairs
[Full text]

Honourable Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto,

President of the Japan-Nepal Parliamentary League,

Honourable Members of the Diet,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

By command of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, I have the honour to express heartfelt thanks to you, Mr. President, and, through you, to the Japan-Nepal Parliamentary League for Friendship, for the warmth and cordiality with which Their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess have been received and addressed at this luncheon. Their Royal Highnesses have taken the sentiments expressed here as the reflection of your deep respect and love towards the Kingdom of Nepal and her people. This occasion has provided Their Royal Highnesses with an opportunity to know first-hand and exchange views with so many distinguished and trusted friends and well-wishers of Nepal assembled here today. His Royal Highness the Crown Prince has also commanded me to communicate to you that His Majesty the King has sent with His Royal Highness his best wishes for the friends and well-wishers of Nepal in Japan.

The Kingdom of Nepal and Japan enjoy a long history of friendship marked by the warmth of cordiality, understanding and cooperation. The establishment of diplomatic relations in 1956 marked a watershed in the expansion and consolidation of relations between the two countries. We will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations next year. We in Nepal are very happy to note that the year 2006 also marks the golden jubilee of the successful ascent atop Mt. Manaslu by the Japanese expedition team in 1956. At present, the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation under the visionary leadership of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Paras Bir Bikram Shah Dev is engaged in preserving and developing the Manaslu area. We in Nepal are looking forward to celebrating both the occasions with the grandeur that is commensurate with the high level of intimacy, understanding and cooperation between our two countries.

We also share many commonalities: deep respect for the Institutions of Monarchies, Buddhism, cultural affinity and similar social values. Periodic exchange of high level visits has immensely contributed to further consolidating these relations. The Institutions of Monarchies in both the countries have been constantly nurturing our relationship and, as a result, our relations stand today on solid footings and remain exemplary. It is in this wholesome spirit that we have taken the present visit of Their Royal Highnesses as yet another important milestone in Nepal-Japan relations.

As you all know, Nepal is passing through difficult times for more than a decade now. The senseless act of terrorism has cost precious lives of our citizens including innocent women, children and aged people, has destroyed vital infrastructures such as schools, bridges, communications facilities, public transport, sources of drinking water, etc, and has significantly constrained our development efforts. The state of indecisiveness, corruption, fiscal indiscipline, violation of democratic values and politicization of nascent institutions gave birth to a feeling that the country would soon be heading towards a failed state unless a preventive measure was taken urgently. In May 1999, the major donor countries and agencies reached this conclusion, and submitted a memorandum to the then Prime Minister. But no attention was paid to this urgent call. Consequently, the law and order situation of the country further deteriorated, and the terrorist activities increased considerably. Against such a background, His Majesty the King, guided by his constitutional obligation and in keeping with the glorious tradition of the Shah dynasty, was compelled to take the decisive step on 1 February this year. Since then, the country is moving in the right direction. His Majesty the King has, time and again, reiterated his commitment to multiparty democracy. Therefore, restoring peace, security and stability, and reenergizing democratic process are on the top of the priorities of the Government.

I am confident that the Government and the people of Japan would continue to extend their hands of friendship and cooperation to the Government and the people of Nepal with full understanding to help save democracy from the threat of terrorism. As His Majesty King Gyanendra said in his 1st February Proclamation, I quote, "The world democracies are presently faced with a threat of terrorism which cannot be confined within geographical boundaries." Unquote. The events around the world have vindicated His Majesty's statement. It should, therefore, be fully understood by all sides that terrorism in Nepal, bent on imposing one-party communist dictatorship in the nation, is not a challenge to Nepal alone but to the world of democracy as a whole. Unfortunately, the political parties in Nepal unwittingly caused the dissolution of all elected institutions in the country, including the House of Representatives, and thus pushed the nation to an unavoidable situation of a rule by nominated governments and institutions. Under such a situation, His Majesty appointed one-party, few-party and multi-party governments. But all failed to correct the situation and also to hold elections to restore elected representatives' institutions. Nepal is fully cognizant of the fact that elections are a must for elected representatives' rule, and that elections are not possible without peace. Therefore, we are committed to restore peace and security in the country and hold elections to re-energise democracy. Municipal elections have already been announced. They will be gradually followed by village, district and parliamentary elections.

We understand that attainment of this goal is not easy. But, His Majesty is fully committed to achieving it within a shortest possible span of time. The Nepalese people are confident that our internal efforts, underpinned and supported by the international community, can speed up the early realisation of our objectives. In this context, I reiterate my expectation of continued understanding and support from the Government and the people of Japan.

Before concluding, I, on a personal note, would like to pay tribute to Honourable Ryutaro Hashimoto who knows, and loves, Nepal deeply. The contributions he has made in promoting Nepal-Japan relations and cooperation, both in his official as well as personal capacities, remain exemplary. Kanti Children's Hospital in Kathmandu and International Mountaineering Museum in Pokhara are the glaring examples of his contributions, touching the hearts and minds of millions of the Nepalese people. I am proud to be an acquaintance of the warmth and enormous generosity in his heart for Nepal and the Nepalese people for over two decades. I personally have always enjoyed and been inspired by all opportunities to work with him-- be it in planning for the next good works, or in being patrons of respective national teams for the historic first-ever Nepal-Japan-China three-country joint expedition that successfully climbed the Mount Everest in 1988. I fondly recall such moments of common triumph, and look forward to many more to come in future. Moreover, your whole-day presence in the National Day ceremony in Aichi four days ago is yet another glaring example of your affection and continued support for Nepal.

We commend the contributions made by Honourable Matsushita during his three decade-long association with Nepal through Sabo activities. His pioneering works in the prevention and mitigation of natural disaster have proved very useful for us. Similarly, Honourable Nikai and Honourable Okuda deserve our appreciation for their goodwill towards Nepal and her people and contributions in our development efforts that are well recognized. His Majesty's Government and the people of Nepal highly value all your support and contributions, which, we earnestly hope, will continue in the coming days as well.

I take this opportunity to mention here that Their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess have taken the high regard and affection with which they have been received at all the places they have visited as the expression of goodwill and affection of the Japanese people to the Kingdom of Nepal and the Nepalese people. Their Royal Highnesses have highly appreciated the contributions made by the Japan-Nepal Parliamentary League for Friendship in promoting understanding and cooperation between the Governments and the peoples of Nepal and Japan, and have commanded me to thank the League for it.

May I, once again, convey sincere thanks of Their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess to all of you for your warmth, kindness and cooperation.

Thank you.