Sky High Opportunity

In yet another positive development in Nepal-Japan friendly cooperation, Japan has opened it skies for Nepali airlines. Nepal’s top development partner has agreed to allow Nepali airlines to operate direct flights to all its airports except one (Haneda airport). This is significant friendly gesture of Japan in relation to the fact that many Nepalis are working in Japan and sizeable number of Japanese tourists visits Nepal every year. Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Kono is currently on a friendly visit of Nepal and this has been an opportunity to finalise this important deal going to be highly opportune for Nepali airlines. Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali the other day held a joint press conference with his visiting Japanese counterpart Kono and announced that the two friendly countries had exchanged the Notes regarding the deal on direct flights to Japan. Nepal and Japan had signed an air service agreement back in 1993 which was revised and updated to enable Nepali airlines to conduct direct flights to Japanese cities. The two friendly countries had reviewed the 1993 deal in June last year in order to open way for the exchange of notes allowing Nepali airlines to operate direct flights. This opens a new vista in deepening cultural ties with Japan as well as bringing in more visitors from this friendly country to Nepal. This goes a long way to make Visit Nepal 2020 scheme a success which aims to bring in two million tourists in the year. Japanese people are well aware about Nepal’s natural and cultural attractions and the new deal will naturally have a beckoning effect.

Visiting Japanese Minister Kono has made a stimulating remark to Nepali airlines when he said that he was keenly looking forward to the start of their direct flights to Japanese cities at the earliest. Concerned companies need to take initiative to best utilise this opportunity. Meanwhile, a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) was signed between Nepal and Japan that seeks to provide a joint platform for discussing mutual cooperation. Minister Gyawali said that this platform can hold deliberations on different relevant topics such as review of cooperation, exploring new avenues of cooperation and exchange of views on pressing regional as well as global issues. Japan has been cooperating with Nepal on various areas including human resource development, health, education, cultural grant aid, economic infrastructure building, agricultural development and environmental conservation. Its assistance to rebuild homes, schools and health facilities after the powerful earthquake of April 2015 has been exemplary. Also, there is good news for those wishing to go and work in Japan that Japan has listed Nepal as a labour source country. Nepal is hosting an investment summit in March to spread the message that it is a safe destination for foreign direct investment. Seizing the opportunity of Kono’s visit, Nepal has urged Japanese investors and entrepreneurs to actively participate in the summit. Kono was quite open and enthusiastic about the prospects of further enhancing cooperation between the two countries when he said that periodic meetings and interaction should continue in the days to come.

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