KATHMANDU: The Tsunami that hit Japan this day last year forced the Japanese government to formulate an innovative strategy for energy and environment, putting in place a system for energy creation, energy storage and energy saving.
Japan plans to showcase these cutting-edge models of technologies and systems to the rest of the world, and assist developing countries, Japanese Ambassador to Nepal Kunio Takahashi told THT in an interview.
Nepal already is a beneficiary of Japan’s new initiative. “We are currently supporting the largest solar power plant in Nepal, which is expected to be completed soon,” Takahashi said.
The ambassador said his country’s support to Nepal for the last four decades has prioritised poverty reduction and peace-building through economic growth. Infrastructure sector, he said, forms the foundation of economic growth.
“During our support for infrastructure projects, however, we occasionally face particular inconveniences such as bandhs, unexpected demands raised by people living in the vicinity of the projects, fuel shortages.”
According to him, Nepal needs to be able to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the key to speedy development. “Nepal, however, has several problems in this area, including complicated working procedures, lack of infrastructure, labor disputes and information gaps,” he said.
Another problem hindering economic development is the ineffective use of foreign remittance, which is mainly spent on consumption, not investment in the productive sector, the ambassador said.
Japan has supported the Sindhuli corridor from Kathmandu to the Tarai area. “We have supported the Sindhuli Road Project since 1995, which is the largest Japanese grant aid in the world and amounts to NRs 21 billion.”
“We have met some unexpected demands raised by local residents or groups while constructing these roads. It occasionally induced some uncooperative response, such as bandh, when their demands were not met. These projects are being undertaken to achieve only one aim that is to help develop Nepal faster and make people’s life happier and more convenient.”
The ambassador had a word of caution when asked to comment on Nepal’s political developments. “We hope that the peace and democratisation process will go smoothly. If this process is derailed it might give a negative signal to the outside world. If Nepal wants to develop economically, it must first have political stability. Nepali leaders must understand this important part.”HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE