I offer my sincerest thanks to you Ambassador Yutaka Kikuta for ceremonially conferring upon me ‘The Order of Japan’ (The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star) in recognition of my contribution to strengthening the economic relation between Japan and Nepal. I accept it as a great honour.
I have gathered that the ‘The Order of Japan’ was established during the Meiji era. My great Grand-Father Prime Minister Dev Shumsher Rana was an admirer of the political structure of the Meiji regime and wished to emulate it. As his direct descendent, I regard conferment of this decoration as very special to me.
In July 1954, on my way to New York to participate in a UN Fellowship Program, I visited Tokyo for three days as a tourist. I experienced great difficulty in communicating with the hotel staff, taxi drivers and shop stewards as they did not understand English. The economy of the country was in dire straits as the infrastructure and numerous factories had been destroyed during the War.
I visited Tokyo again for three days in September 1960 as the guest of the Governor of the Bank of Japan, Mr. Yamagoto. We became friends in Washington DC while attending the Annual General Meeting of the World Bank and IMF. I was there to follow up on Nepal’s application for membership of the two organizations. In my interaction with him, I had conveyed my impressions of my Tokyo visit in 1954. His response was to invite me to spend a few days in Japan to observe the reconstruction and economic recovery that had been accomplished.
Arrangements had been made for me to visit Osaka and Tokyo to view the reconstruction. Also appointments had been made for me to visit a few factories and corporation offices for briefing by their CEO’s about the new products that they were planning to market. The Sony products like the transistor radio were selling like hot cakes. I was received by the internationally acclaimed entrepreneur Mr. Akio Morita when I visited the Sony factory.
At the end of my visit I was amazed by the incredibly fast economic recovery made in the span of six years. I noted that Japanese people were endowed with a legendry resilience to tackle adversity. They were meticulous and perfectionists in whatever they set out to do. Their captains of industry had creative energy to conceive, design, manufacture and market new products. The Japanese government had a long term vision of expanding trade. Thus the economic prospects of Japan in the coming years were enviable.
In the first meeting of the Board of Directors of Nepal Rastra Bank, held after my return to Kathmandu, I proposed that we deposit a certain portion of the Bank’s reserve in Yen. My assessment was that the international market price of Yen would go up and it did. With BODs approval, the deposit in Yen in the Bank of Japan was made in the Spring of 1961. Coincidently this happened to be the first deposit in Yen made by a Foreign Central Bank in the Bank of Japan. The opening of the account in the Bank of Japan by the Nepal Rastra Bank triggerd similar action by other Central Banks.
The opening of the Yen account forged a bond between the Central Banks of Japan and Nepal. And, secondly, it facilitated trade and economic relation between our two countries. Nepal Rastra Bank has confirmed to me that Nepal Rastra Bank’s Yen account in the Bank of Japan still exists.
“The Order of Japan” has been conferred upon me for the action that I took as Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB). As such I dedicate this award to NRB.
I visited Japan in 1970 and 1980 as the Representative of the UN Development Program to participate in the aid meetings organized by the World Bank. Interaction with the officials of the Government of Japan kept me abreast of the latest developments in the country. In one of these visits I had the pleasure of dining with Kenzo Ogura, one of the top officials in the Foreign Ministry. He was the room-mate in Cambridge of my brother-in-law Mr. Chiran Shumsher Thapa, Principal Secretary to his Majesty King Birendra.
I visited Japan again in 1990 as a member of the team of Nepalese businessman on a mission to procure machinery for yarn industry. In all these meetings I urged my Japanese counterparts to further strengthen the economic relation between our two countries.
I gather that my intellectual friend, Japan’s Ambassador to Nepal Zenzo Kaminaga supported the conferment of the Award to me. He had presented to me a book ‘Wealth of Asia’ authored by him. I also presented to him a book authored by me. I offer my heartiest thanks to him for his support.
I would like to end my remarks by thanking Honorable Motegi Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Your Excellency Yutaka Kikuta Ambassador of Japan, and Officials of Embassy of Japan for their preparatory work for this award. Also, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Prime Minister of Nepal, Sher Bahadur Deuba, and the Chief of protocol in the Foreign Ministry of Nepal for approving the award to me.
LONG LIVE NEPAL–JAPAN FRIENDSHIP .
Himalaya Sumsher Rana is a former governor of Nepal Rastra Bank. Excerpts of his Remarks by Himalaya S. Rana at the Investiture held at residence of Japanese Ambassador to Nepal on which held on 24th May, 2022