Takashi Miyahara who died on 24 November at age 85 first came to Nepal in 1962, and never left. He saw vast potential in this country, invested in many landmark hotels, married a Nepali woman, became a Nepali citizen, and when he saw politicians ruining the country he contested the 2008 elections to try to change things.
He lost that election, but never lost hope. He was always brimming with ideas, and listening to this tenacious Nepali of Japanese descent, one wished he would one day become Prime Minister of his adopted country.
Miyahara’s office had a map of Nepal that was a blueprint for the country’s infrastructure-led development. An east-west electric railway artery linked to north-south feeder roads with tunnels, and cable-cars to hilltop tourist sites. He wanted to shift Nepal’s capital to Chitwan to reduce the pressure on Kathmandu Valley. He had master plans for hydropower, tourism and water supply.
These perfectly do-able plans were in the manifesto of the Nepal National Development Party that he founded. The party failed to win even a single seat in the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections, but Miyahara kept trying to change Nepal’s fatalistic culture by setting an example with hard work and putting the national interest first.