Message from the
Ambassador of Japan to Bhutan
  Japan-Bhutan Relations

It is my great honor as well as pleasure to embrace the Silver Jubilee, 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Bhutan, today.

On behalf of the Government and people of Japan, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the King of Bhutan, the Royal Government of Bhutan, and the people of Bhutan, for the warm messages and support after the recent Tohoku - Pacific Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, as well as generous relief contributions. I visited Bhutan last week to present the credentials to His Majesty. On that occasion, I also had the privilege of attending the final day of the three-day nation-wide prayer ceremonies. I was very touched to hear that every Bhutanese whom I met, unanimously said that he or she shares Japan’s grief and sorrow, and expressed strong support for speedy recovery. With the cooperation and encouragement from Bhutan, I believe Japan will be able to overcome the enormous challenges it is facing now.

Up till now, Japan and Bhutan have nurtured a friendly and special relationship. Mr. Nishioka (later called “Dasho Nishioka”) supported farm modernization throughout Bhutan for about 30 years since 1964, even before our diplomatic relations were established. His achievement as a pioneer formed a solid basis of KR2 which has provided almost 2,500 power tillers for the farmers of Bhutan. We appreciate that these machineries have been fully utilized throughout the country.

I am pleased to see that now there are around sixty JICA experts, JOCVs and Senior Volunteers in Bhutan actively working in various fields, such as agriculture, infrastructure, education, health and governance. They happily devote themselves for Bhutan’s development. We are most grateful to His Majesty for his kind concern about each of these Japanese experts.

The Imperial Family of Japan and the Royal Family of Bhutan have nurtured a deep friendship. In February of this year, Her Royal Highness Princess Kezang Choden Wangchuck, visited Japan to receive the “Earth Hall of Fame Kyoto” Award and to present the idea of GNH. On that occasion, Her Royal Highness and her spouse, Dasho Palden Tobgye Thinley, were warmly received by Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince, and Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino. It marked an excellent opportunity for the beginning of our 25th anniversary.

In 2008, Bhutan successfully achieved the orderly transition to democracy. We are pleased to witness the progress of democratization under the leadership of the Royal Government of Bhutan. Japan supports the 10th Five Year Plan which helps realize the objectives of democratization and the idea of GNH. This year, we wish to renew our assistance to the 10th Five Year Plan. We would like to see Bhutan follow a sound path of development in harmony with its beautiful nature and environment.

In conclusion, I would like to say that the Japanese and the Bhutanese people respect each other as true partners and friends. On the occasion of this Silver Jubilee, I firmly believe that the two nations can further strengthen their ties at all levels, including government, private and academic, in the years to come.

With my sincere wishes for the bright and prosperous future of Japan-Bhutan relations,

Akitaka Saiki
Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Bhutan
28th March 2011