July 11, 2014
On June 30, JICA Senior Vice-President Hideaki Domichi held talks in Tokyo with Tshering Tobgay, the prime minister of Bhutan.
The prime minister expressed his gratitude for Japan's continued support, which began with the dispatch of Dasho Nishioka* in 1964. He said that Bhutan is aiming to become economically independent in a comprehensive way that does not place a major burden on the environment. The prime minister said the five fields of hydroelectric power generation, agriculture, tourism, small- and medium-sized enterprises and mining are important. Also, after saying that farm mechanization remains necessary and he hopes for continued support from Japan, the prime minister indicated a policy of promoting the use of electric vehicles to reduce the burden automobiles place on the environment.
Domichi, after touching on the importance of the field of agriculture, said that among the five fields mentioned, hydroelectric power generation and tourism make good use of Bhutan's strengths and would assist Bhutan in achieving a self-reliant economy. He also said Japan's ODA efforts for small- and medium-sized enterprises, currently going on in other countries, might be of help in Bhutan's efforts to cultivate such enterprises.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the cooperative relationship between Japan and Bhutan, and in the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu, with Bhutan's Foreign Minister Rinzin Dorje and JICA President Akihiko Tanaka in attendance, a ceremony was held to commemorate the occasion in June.
*A former JICA expert who was given a national funeral, and was affectionately referred to as the father of Bhutanese agriculture. Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck gave him the honorary title "dasho," which means "supremely distinguished person." It was the first time a non-Bhutanese was so honored.