Tunnel Road : Nepal-Japan 60th Anniversary Commemoration Project

Tunnel Road : Nepal-Japan 60th Anniversary Commemoration Project


Buddhi Narayan Shrestha

Nepal-Japan diplomatic relation was established in 1956. Notes agreeing to establish diplomatic relation between two countries at Ambassadorial level were exchanged on September 1, 1956 in New Delhi between Mr. Bharat Raj Rajbhandari, Charge d’ Affairs a.i. of Nepal to India and H. E. Seijiro Yoshizawa, Ambassador of Japan to India. Since then formal diplomatic relations between Nepal and Japan have always been co-operative and friendly. It is to be noted that people to people contact as friendship was started when Ekai Kawaguchi, a Japanese Buddhist monk visited Nepal in 1899; and a group of eight Nepali students went to Japan in 1902 for higher studies. Now the relation is becoming closer and strengthened year after year not only in the government level, but also in the level of general people. Both countries are keen to further develop the friendly relations for mutual respect as well as peace and prosperity. This year 2016 is the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relation between Nepal and Japan. The tunnel road project is regarded as the 60th anniversary commemoration project of Japan in Nepal.

Nepal-Japan relation based on mutual trust and cooperation is very cordial. Japan government is ahead for its continuous support to Nepal’s social and economic development endevours. Japan, which is Nepal’s reliable and the major donor partner, has achieved tremendous development in science and technology and has an impressive record in economic development sector. Japan’s assistance to infrastructure development, modernization of agro sector, human resource development, air safety, school reform sector and other socio-economic development programs  in Nepal are always commendable.


Exchange of visits

Diplomatic linkages have connected both countries closer. Many official visits were made from each other to strengthen the diplomatic relations between Nepal and Japan. Some of the exchange visits are as followings :


2016 Former DPM and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa visits Japan.
2016 State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Nobuo Kishi visits Nepal.
2016 Former Prime Minister Jhal Nath Khanal visits Japan.
2016 Former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai visits Japan.
2015 State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Minoru Kiuchi visits Nepal.
2015 DPM and Energy Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi visits Japan.
2015 Minister for Finance Ram Sharan Mahat visits Japan.
2015 Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey visits Japan.
2015 Foreign Secretary Mr. Shankar Bairagi visits Japan.
2014 Member of Parliament and Secretary-General of the Japan-Nepal Parliamentary Friendship League Mr. Yosuke Tsuruho visits Nepal.
2014 Parliamentry Vice President for Foreign Affairs Mr. Seiji Kihara visits Nepal.
2014 Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Bimalendra Nidhi, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Dipak Chandra Amatya and Minister for Education Chitra Lekha Yadav visits Japan.
2014 Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Prakash Man Singh visits Japan.
2013 President Ram Baran Yadav visit Japan for treatment.
2012 Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Koro Bessho visits Nepal.
2012 Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha visits Japan.
2012 Minister for Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba visits Nepal
2010 Vice-President of Nepali Congress Ram Chandra Paudel visits Japan
2009 Minister for Finance Dr. Baburam Bhattarai Visits Japan
2009 Vice-Minister for Defence Mr. Nobuo Kishi Visits Nepal
2008 Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Osamu Uno Visits Nepal
2008 Japanese Parliamentarians Tadahiko Ito and Gaku Hashimoto visit Nepal for observation of Constituent Assembly Elections
2007 Senior Vice Minister for Defense Tadahide Kimura Visits Nepal
2007 Chihiro Atsumi, Director-General of Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan visits Nepal
2006 Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Yasuhisa Shiozaki visits Nepal
2005 Minister for Finance Mukunda Prasad Rana visits Japan
2005 Home Minister Purna Bahadur Khadka visits Japan
2005 Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Katsuyuki Kawai visits Nepal
2005 TRH Crown Prince Paras and Crown Princess Himani, accompanied by Minister for Foreign Affairs Ramesh Nath Pandey, visit Japan to open Nepal Pavilion in Aichi Expo ’05
2004 Member of House of Representatives and Secretary General of the Japan-Nepal Parliamentary Friendship League Tadahiro Matsushita visits Nepal
2004 Chief of Commission for investigation of Abuse of Authority Surya Nath Upadhaya visits Japan
2004 Chief of Army Staff Pyarjang Thapa visits Japan
2003 Minister for Information and Communication Ramesh Pandey visits Japan
2003 Vice-speaker of the Lower House of Representative Chitra Lekha Yadav visits Japan
2003 Chief judge Kedar Nath Upadhaya visits Japan
2003 Parliamentary Secretary for Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunication, Rokuzaemon Yoshida visits Nepal
2002 Former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto visits Nepal
2002 Minister of State for Science and Technology Bhakta Bahadur Balayar visits Japan
2002 Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Madhu Raman Acharya visits Japan
2001 Secretary General of the Japan-Nepal Parliamentary Friendship League Wataru Kubo visits Nepal
2001 HRH Crown Prince Dipendra visits Japan
2000 Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori pays an official visit to Nepal
2000 Nepali Parliamentary delegation led by Rt. Hon. Tara Nath Ranabhat, Speaker of the House of Representatives visits Japan
1999 Former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan visited Nepal during HM King Birendra conferred Suprasiddha Prabala Gorkha Dakshin Bahu
1998 Nepali Parliamentary delegation led by Rt. Hon. Beni Bahadur Karki, Chairman of National Assembly, visits Japan
1998 Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala pays an official visit to Japan
1998 Japanese Parliamentary Delegation led by Vice Speaker of the House of Representatives Kozo Watanabe visits Nepal
1997 TIH Prince and Princess Akishino visit Nepal
1995 Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Madhav Kumar Nepal pay an official visit to Japan
1995 Dr. Prakash Chandra Lohani, Minister for Foreign Affairs, visits Japan
1991 Japanese Parliamentary Election Observation Mission, led by Keiwa Okuda, President, Japan-Nepal Parliamentarians’ Friendship League, visits Nepal
1991 Finance Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto visits Nepal
1991 Acting President of Nepali Congress Krishna Prasad Bhattarai visits Japan
1990 HRH Crown Prince Dipendra attends the enthronement ceremony of His Majesty Emperor Akihito
1989 HRH Prince Gyanendra attends the Funeral Ceremony of His late Majesty Emperor Hirohito
1987 Shailendra Kumar Upadhyaya, Minister for Foreign Affairs, pays an official visit to Japan
1987 HIH Crown Prince Naruhito pays a visit to Nepal
1986 TRH Prince Gyanendra and Princess Komal visit Japan to attend the opening ceremony of King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation Japan Chapter
1985 HM King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya visit Japan to attend Tsukuba Expo’85
1985 HIH Princess Chichibu visits Nepal
1983 TM King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya visit Japan
1980 Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Kazuo Aichi visits Nepal
1978 State visit to Japan by Their Majesties King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya
1977 Krishna Raj Aryal, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal visits Japan
1977 Iichiro Hatoyama, Minister for Foreign Affairs, pays an official visit to Nepal
1975 Their Royal Highnesses Prince Gyanendra and Prince Dhirendra visit Japan
1975 Junko Tabei becomes the first woman to scale Sagarmatha
1975 TIH Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko attend the Coronation of His Majesty King Birendra
1974 Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, visits Japan
1970 TM King Mahendra and Queen Ratna visit Japan to attend Osaka Expo’70
1970 TIH Prince and Princess Hitachi attend the Wedding Ceremony of Crown Prince Birendra
1968 Establishment of Japanese Embassy in Kathmandu
1968 Appointment of Hidemichi Kira as the first resident Ambassador to Nepal
1967 HRH Crown Prince Birendra goes to Japan to study at Tokyo University
1965 Establishment of Royal Nepali Embassy in Tokyo
1962 Dr. Iwamura starts medical service at the United Mission Hospital in Patan
1960 Official visit to Nepal by TIH Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko
1960 State visit to Japan by Their Majesties King Mahendra and Queen Ratna
1956 Establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan & Nepal (Exchange of Notes on September 1)
1956 Seijiro Yoshizawa, Ambassador to India, attends the Coronation of HM King Mahendra
1952 Eizaburo Nishibori receives an audience with HM King Tribhuvan
1936 Prof. Syun-ichi Amanuma visits Nepal to inspect buildings after the great earthquake
1933 Kousetsu Nousu, renowned artist for his Buddhist paintings, and Tetsuzo Ide are invited to Nepal by General Keshar Shumsher J.B. Rana
1913 Junjiro Takakusu, Reverend Ekai Kawaguchi and Ryutei Hasebe visit Lumbini and meet Prime Minister Chandra Shumsher J.B. Rana
1912 Bunkyo Aoki enters Nepal on his way to Tibet
1902 Departure of a group of 8 Nepali students for study in Japan
1899 Arrival in Nepal by the first recorded Japanese visitor Reverend Ekai Kawaguchi, a Buddhist monk who stays in Nepal on his way to Tibet

Source: Embassy of Japan in Nepal

Note: Japanese visit (in italics).

Nepal’s all-time friend Japan  

Nepal and Japan are friends during happiness and sorrow. Japan’s immediate humanitarian and emergency services during last year’s earthquake in Nepal, the prompt dispatch of relief and rescue teams and emergency relief material, was a testimony of close friendship between the two countries. Nepal also had provided a token and sentimental help to the Sunami affected Japanese people. JAAN members also contributed some token money through the Ambassador of Japan to Nepal Mr. Tatsuo Mizuno in March 2011. In this respect, both countries and people are all-time friends.


Tunnel road project

Japan government, through the ODA, has assisted to Nepal and the Nepali people especially for the infrastructure development projects. Japan has provided all possible support to the holistic development of Nepal. Construction project of Nagdhunga-Naubise tunnel road is one of the latest examples of Nepal-Japan cooperation.

The road conditions of Naubise-Thankot section of the Tribhuvan Highway are very poor and the vehicular movement is slow due to many sharp curves and steep gradient. Considering the complex geological condition of this stretch, the need for its upgradation or realignment with a better alternative had been felt for long. To meet this alternative route felt need, Japan government has recently provided a loan project for the construction of ‘Tunnel Road’ to connect Nagdhunga of Kathmandu to Naubise of Dhading district.


The tunnel road project is regarded as a milestone of Nepal-Japan relations. Japan government considers this project to be a symbolic landmark for the socio-economic development of Nepal and for the deepening relationships between two countries. Japan has many years of experience in developing such tunnel road projects and highly developed tunnel construction technology in Japan. This experience and technology will be used in Nepal in connection to the construction of Nagdhunga-Naubise tunnel road project.

According to the Department of Roads; a feasibility study, environment impact assessment and road alignment have already been completed. The tunnel road planned to be dug under the western rim of Kathmandu Valley will eliminate the need to longer travel over the tortuous mountain route which is now the main access to the capital. The construction of tunnel road is expected to reduce travel time between Nagdhunga and Naubise significantly, thereby contributing to smooth flow of transport vehicles between Kathmandu and other major cities of the country like Birganj, Narayangadh, Pokhara and along with the East-West Highway, as the Nagdhunga pass connects Kathmandu to Dhading district.

This tunnel road project assistance was announced during the visit of Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobuo Kishi to Nepal in September this year at the ceremony of the 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties between Japan and Nepal.

The estimated cost of the tunnel project is 22,14 million Japanese Yen (Rs. 20.41 billion). Of the total project cost, 16,63 million Yen (Rs. 15.33 billion) will be covered by the Japanese government’s official development assistance. Japan government will provide loans to the government of Nepal at an annual interest rate of 0.01 percent with a repayment period of 40 years and an additional 10 years of grace period. Finance Secretary Shanta Raj Subedi and Ambassador of Japan to Nepal Masashi Ogawa signed and exchanged a set of Exchange of Notes on behalf of their respective governments for extending the said loan at an event organised at the Ministry of Finance (MoF) on December 23, 2016.


It will have to construct 5.05 kilometres of tunnel-road that stretches from Baad Bhanjyang Nagdhunga, Kathmandu to Sisnekhola of Naubise, Dhading districts. The 2.45 kilometres of the stretch will be a two-lane tunnel and 2.20 kilometres (Kathmandu side) and 0.40 kilometre (Dhading side) will be approach roads. Similarly, 2.6 kilometers of approach road will also be built to link the tunnel road with the main road section. Two bridges will be built along the approach roads. It is anticipated that this project will significantly improve vehicular movement and, accordingly, reduce travel time and transport expenses for fuel and spare parts will also decrease significantly.


The tunnel road will be started from the terraced area of Nagdhunga Police check-post to lower part of Sisne Khola of Dhading district. This will be the first tunnel road in Nepal for transportation purpose. However, there are some tunnels constructed for the development of hydro-electric power projects and Melamchi tunnel for drinking water purpose.

The tunnel construction work is expected to start from early 2019 after hiring a consultant in 2017. Construction period will take one-and-a-half years to prepare the detailed report of the project and another three-and-a-half years for the construction, which is expected to be completed by August 2022.

Various facilities like fire detector, CCTV Camera, evacuation tunnel door, emergency parking bay, lighting, loud speaker equipment and visibility index meter among other infrastructures, will also be installed in the tunnel for safe operation. Similarly, construction of toll facility, control office and distribution line of 4.1 kilometers are the other components of the project. Plaza area, rest room, restaurant, shops, parking space will also be developed towards Sisnekhola of Dhading, utilizing a flat land made by disposal of tunnel excavation materials.


4- Old and New Route Photo

A preparatory survey report of the project prepared in 2015 has suggested a toll rate of Rs. 25 for light vehicle and Rs. 35 for heavy vehicle for tunnel operation and maintenance. According to the report, about 90 percent of passenger car users have revealed that they are willing to pay a toll fee to use the tunnel road.


In summary, the tunnel will facilitate the followings :

  1. It will have easy and smooth entry and exit to and from Kathmandu Valley to other parts of the country.
  2. The vehicles will consume less petroleum products to reach to Kathmandu capital city.
  3. Transport vehicles will have life longevity; so that the driver, owner of the vehicle and the government will be benefitted.
  4. The districts will enjoy comfortable access and fast contact with the capital city Kathmandu.

There is a large hope to obtain more and and more support from Japan to Nepal in the days to come as well. In this aspect, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will explore future programs in Nepal and conduct feasibility studies of the possible projects which will be implemented for the economic development of Nepal and the Nepali people.


My Republica Daily, December 21, 2016

Himalayan Times Daily, December 22, 2016









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