The Japan Nepal Society held a seminar in Tokyo on 8 March on "Peace-building Nepal" in which Japanese academics, students, environmentalists and activists hoped that the current ceasefire would lead to lasting peace so that they could visit their "second home".
Speaking fluently in Nepali, Dr Abe Yasuo of NPO Kathmandu said, "We must all work together for peace to be restored. The Maoist violence has brought nothing but horror to the villages." The seminar was also attended by Sudip Pathak of the Human Rights Organisation of Nepal (HURON) who gave a brief history of the roots of the conflict. "People are still sceptical about permanent peace, but the ceasefire will hold this time," Pathak told the audience. Tanaka Toshiyuki of the Institute of Himalayan Conservation said things were getting better after the ceasefire and that his group's activities could now begin anew.
Hageshita Toshiyuki, a former JICA volunteer called on the Maoists to stop their extortion drives, and the civil service should be less corrupt. Okura Yoshitomi of Japan Alpine Club said that Nepal has always been a safe destination and the ceasefire had made it even safer. Yoshitomi was more worried about the recovery of the Nepali economy. Takaoka Shuncho condemned the destruction by the Maoists of the Mahendra Sanskrit Library and compared it to the destruction of the Bamian Buddha by the Taleban. (from Kumar Basnet in Tokyo)