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Foreign Minister Kono in town; Nepal-Japan sign aviation agreement

Sharachchandra Bhandary
Nepal and Japan have signed an Air Service Agreement ushering in the avenues of tourism promotion and enhancing economic activities. The agreement was reached between the two countries during the official visit of Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono that began yesterday.
The agreement signed following ministerial-level talks between Foreign Minister Pradip Gyawali and his Japanese counterpart Kono. Exchange of notes on Air Service Agreement and Memorandum of Cooperation between two foreign ministries on conducting bilateral consultation too took place.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Gyawali, Japanese Foreign Minister Kono is arrived in capital a two-day official visit, leading an 18-member delegation.
The visit is expected to promote Japanese investment and tourism, and also become fruitful in sending a maximum number of Nepali workers to Japan’s labour market. Matters of bilateral interest and other aspects of Nepal-Japan relations were discussed during the delegation-level talks held under the leadership of the two foreign ministers.
Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi told this scribe that extensive deliberations and exchange of views figured in the meeting in the areas prioritized by the government for economic development and Japan’s possible contribution to it, including in the area of agriculture, energy, infrastructure, tourism and human resources development.
Facilitating the entry of Nepali workers for employment in Japan, establishing direct air service between Nepal and Japan by providing slots to Nepal Airlines Corporation aircrafts at the Osaka and Narita airports, expanding the scope of Japanese support to Nepal’s socio-economic endeavours including in post-quake reconstruction were discussed during the meeting, Bairagi said.
Though diplomatic relations between Nepal and Japan started on 1 September 1956, Nepal-Japan friendship commenced since 6th century as the Buddhism rooted in Nepal and spread to Japan and well bloomed there.
Construction of the BP Highway and New Bus Park at Gongabu, modernization of Tribhuvan University, KaliGandaki ‘A’ Hydro Electricity Project are some of the mega projects financed and implemented by Japan. The 140 mega watt Tanahun Hydro Electricity Project and Kathmandu-Nagdhunga Tunnel Projects are other some ongoing projects assisted by the Japan Government.
Nepal and Japan not only share historical and cultural ties of friendship but also economic and commercial relations.
Initiation of direct flights between Nepal and Japan is expected to help bring in Japanese tourists to Nepal, and thereby make the Visit Nepal Year 2020 successful.
During the visit, Japanese Foreign Minister Kono also paid courtesy calls separately with President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and assured of extending all possible help for the broader benefit of Nepal and her people.

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