Embassy of Japan in Nepal

People's Exchanges

The 100th Anniversary of Nepali Students in Japan

Symposium on
A Century of Nepali Students in Japan and Perspective for the 21st Century

April 7, 2002.

Speech by Mr. Amod Kumar Upadhaya, Hon'ble Minister for Education and Sports

Charge d' Affairs Mr. Okabe,
President and Office bearers of JUSAN,
Distinguished Resource Persons and Participants,
Friends, Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen

At the outset, let me express my sincere appreciation to the Embassy of Japan and the Japan University of Students' Association, Nepal (JUSAN) for organizing this symposium on 'Century of Nepali Students in Japan and Perspective for 21st century'. This symposium not only commemorates the first-ever travel of eight students from Nepal to Japan but also seeks to develop a perspective for the 21st century. Developing a perspective for the whole century is indeed a very difficult and challenging task. But looking at this group of eminent personalities I remain hopeful that at the end of the symposium we will have an outcome of great substance and lasting importance. At a personal note, I feel deeply honored and privileged to be here amongst you and I express my sincere thanks to the organizers for providing me with this opportunity to share some of my feelings and thoughts with you.

This celebration of an occasion that transpired a hundred years ago is indeed joyous and inspiring. It marked the beginning of a new era for Nepal and, I believe, to a certain extent for Japan as well. Japan, even at that time, had already established herself as a major economic power. The social and economic transformations brought about by the Meiji restoration had already filtered down to every strata of the Japanese life. Indeed all of us gathered here are familiar with these developments. I repeat them here in the hope that looking back, we can appreciate what a momentous opportunity it was in terms of building bridges and promoting cooperation between Nepal and Japan. Had we been able to impart a sense of continuity and consistently to what was our initial effort to develop contact with the outside world and build up human resource base, our socio economic and perhaps even political history would have been significantly different. We cannot rewrite history but we certainly can take lesson from it. Taking lesson from events and experiences is as important to the present and the future as it was to the past.

In the present context and particularly after a return to the multiparty democratic system, it is heartening to note that Japan has been the major source of financial and technical cooperation in our development endeavors. The list of collaborative efforts completed or undertaken with Japanese assistance is really long and extensive. And the importance of these efforts to our own quest for economic diversification and growth is really immense. I just want to reiterate that we highly value every single cooperative gesture and initiative of the Japanese government. More so, let me add, in the field of education and human development.

Let me briefly touch upon the perspective for the 21st century. As a human being and as an inhabitant of our common abode, our ultimate concern has to be the welfare of mankind and the well being of this planet. This may seem somewhat trite and obvious. But it is obvious that it is overlooked most frequently. Despite all the progress mankind has achieved, it is a sorry testimony to our achievements that underdevelopment and poverty still characterize a majority of the nations and billions of peoples. In the long run, poverty and progress cannot exist side by side. We have seen and experienced the destructive power of terrorism. And terrorism has a tendency to flourish in the midst of poverty, illiteracy, ignorance and in an atmosphere of indifference. My belief is that any perspective on the 21st century will have to take full cognizance of these legacies and issues. I am sure that both Nepal and Japan will not be found wanting in their efforts to address these issues.

To conclude, every NILLAHAR, GODABORIPHOOL, HALUWABED and THULO KATTUS that grows or blooms in Nepal will remain a lasting testimony to the spirit of the eight youth who took a voyage to Japan and to the generous spirit of Japan. I hope and believe that there will be no dearth of such testimonies in the days to come.

I thank you for your patience and kind attention.

Thank you

Copyright (c): 2012 Embassy of Japan in Nepal