Japan-Bhutan Friendship Association





Even before the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1986, the relationship between Japan and Bhutan has always been friendly through private- level exchanges and international development aid via United Nations. Of all, the contribution by NISHIOKA Keiji is outstanding. He was an Agricultural Specialist dispatched by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and devoted himself to transferring agricultural technology to Bhutan for 28 years since 1964. His work had contributed to the modernization of Bhutan so greatly that he became the only foreigner, who was designated as “Dasho” (Noble Man) by His majesty the King. Unfortunately, he had passed away suddenly in the middle of his duty in Bhutan in 1992.

Since then, the relationship has been deepening and diversifying, especially pushed by several events such as the Flower Expo in Osaka, and the start of private Tourism in Bhutan.
The number of Japanese living in Bhutan has been increasing to reach nearly 100 in total now. These include Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV), which was started its dispatch in 1988, Senior Volunteers both by JICA and NGOs, development aid specialists, and international marriages.
At the same time, there are about 30 Bhutanese living in Japan for studies, training programmes, and marriages.

Although both countries have official relationships, neither of them owns embassy nor consulate. Therefore, the diplomatic relationship is always carried out via Indian Embassy.
At Royal level, there are also exchange histories. The present His Majesty visited Japan for the funeral for the former emperor in 1989, and the coronation ceremony for the present emperor in 1990. Likewise, the Crown Prince and the Prince and Princess Akishinonomiya paid visit to Bhutan in 1987 and in 1997 respectively.