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Japan-born politician to contest upcoming Nepal election.

KATHMANDU, March 23 Kyodo

A Japanese-born tourism entrepreneur said Monday he will contest a by-election for a seat in Nepal's powerful assembly next month despite the low odds of winning.

Takashi Miyahara, 75, told Kyodo News in an interview in his office in central Kathmandu that he is running to remind people that his Nepal National Development Party still exists.

''We have only a few supporters in the constituency I am contesting from. I have to fight 16 candidates. A win for me is a far-fetched dream,'' he said.

''But I want to utilize this by-election to build a base for the next big election,'' said Miyahara, a naturalized Nepali citizen originally from Nagano Prefecture.

Miyahara's NNDP garnered just over 8,000 votes nationwide under the proportional electoral system in last year's special assembly election. That was not enough for his party to win a single seat.

''I have a vision to develop this country. I will use my campaign for the by-election to make people aware of this vision,'' said Miyahara, who is pinning his hopes on the next general election slated to take place within the next two years.

Miyahara is leaving for Kaski district located about 200 kilometers west of Kathmandu on Tuesday for his electoral campaign.

During the campaign, he will be arguing that political parties should totally focus on the country's development, rather than engaging in unending politicking. Miyahara's election manifesto lays emphasis on spreading education and building the country as a major tourism destination in the globe.

Miyahara first came to Nepal in 1962 to climb a mountain. He fell in love with the country and eventually settled here. His initial focus was Nepal's cottage industries, which he saw in his first few years in Nepal as key to the country's economic progress.

Later, he realized that if Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world, had any chances of growing rich, it would do so through tourism.

In 1971, he built Hotel Everest View in the foothills of Mt. Everest. He also built Syangboche Airport there with his own funds and funds given by the government of Nepal.

''I have grown old working to prevent that hotel from shutting down,'' said Miyahara. ''The hotel never did very well.''

Miyahara chairs the Himalaya Hotel in Kathmandu that he built in 1987. He also owns a trekking company in Kathmandu.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Mar 23, 2009
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