Cooperation: Japan has increased, by 10 more, the number of volunteers in the country.

Japan has the highest number of volunteers in Bhutan with 22 Japanese overseas cooperation volunteers  (JOCVs) and nine senior volunteers already in various parts of the country.

The new volunteers include two senior volunteers and eight JOCV volunteers who will serve in various dzongkhags in different capacities.

It was in 1988 that a young volunteer first came to Bhutan after the two governments signed a memorandum of understanding to send volunteers from Japan in 1987. By then, Dasho Keiji Nishioka, one of the most prominent Japanese volunteers, was already in the country.

Dasho Keiji Nishioka worked on agriculture development in the country for 28 years and helped modernise the sector in Bhutan.

Royal Civil Service Commission’s commissioner Indraman Chhetri said: “We cherish his untiring and selfless contribution as we enjoy the fruits of his love and sacrifice.”

He said that Dasho Keiji Nishioka showed in practice the highest form of volunteerism.

The JOCV volunteers, upon completion of their two-year service, return to their country where they continue to engage in promoting relations between the two countries.

“We know that you have to sacrifice the comfort of your home country to work here, but we know that you are prepared for that,” the RCSC commissioner said.

Japan has dispatched volunteers in the fields of architecture, civil engineering, physical education, IT, midwifery, nursing and other sectors, related to social and economic development.

Some of the worksites the volunteers have contributed to were Punakha and Paro dzongs, the national museum, traditional houses in Haa and Paga Lhakhang that were damaged by earthquakes, conflagrations and time-related deterioration.

Cooperation is mainly provided in the fields of agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, machinery maintenance and operation, civil engineering, architecture, health and welfare, education, IT services, and sports.

Tshering Palden