Dr. Hiroshi Ikeya received the Hon. Minister on behalf of the Minister, who was away to attend the Inauguration Ceremony of the Government. 1. I would like to thank Ministry of Construction for offering me this opportunity by inviting me and my delegation to Japan. 2. Nepal shares a very sound and meaningful tradition of friendship and cooperation with the people and Government of Japan. There are many common bonds between our two countries such as constitutional monarchy, democratic government, Buddhist religion and culture. Nepal, the home land of the Lord Buddha, accord high value to the friendship with Japan where the Lord Buddha is revered as much as in his own birth place. 3. We have been assisted by your Government for many years now in our bid to achieve sustainable development in many areas. The substantive Official Development Assistance provided by the Government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA in diverse sectors such as Kulekhani hydropower, irrigation, disaster mitigation, transport, communication, agriculture, public health and human resource development has been greatly valued by the people of Nepal. 4. Both Nepal and Japan have highly erosive mountainous terrain prone to frequent natural disasters. The initiation taken by your ministry for the cause of water induced disaster reduction in Nepal, I understand, dates back to 1977. With the strong support of JICA and the technical expertise provided by its experts, the DPTC is now well equipped with adequate infrastructure. The government of Nepal has realized the necessity to establish this centre as a permanent government entity and carry forward the disaster prevention projects in an integrated manner. We are also beginning to implement the next stage project, the Disaster Mitigation Support Programme (DSMP) with your generous support of the ministry through JICA and the dedicated efforts of my staff at DPTC. I would like to assure that DSMP will add another milestone in the arena of Nepal-Japan Cooperation. 5. As you know, Nepal’s highly erosive rivers cause much sedimentation and flooding as they debouch into the flat lands of the Tarai. Flood mitigation through development studies such as Master Plan Study of Eight Tarai Rivers of Nepal has already been initiated through JICA technical assistance. It would be greatly appreciated by His Majesty’s Government of Nepal, if a detailed Master Plan could also be developed for other river as well. I would deeply welcome any initiative to this effect from the Ministry of Construction. 6. I would also welcome the exploration of further avenues of mutual cooperation in the harnessing of Nepal’s abundant but as yet minimally utilized water resources. Avenues are open now for the program that can benefit to the needy people of Nepal and encourage greater ties and friendship with the people and the government of Japan. 7. I would like to thank the Ministry of Construction and the Sabo Department for the support provided to Nepal’s efforts at disaster mitigation and institutionalization. I would like to express my heart-felt gratitude to the people and the government of Japan for the generous assistance provided to Nepal for the socio-economic upliftment of its people. 8. Finally, I would like to invite the Honorable Minister Mr. Masaaki Nakayama. I am sure that the visit by the Honorable Minister would add another milestone in the increasing cooperation between Nepal and Japan. Thank you.