Diplomatic relations between Japan and Bhutan were established on 28 March 1986. H.E. Mr. Satoshi Suzuki, Ambassador of Japan in New Delhi, is accredited to Bhutan and Major General Vestop Namgyel, Ambassador of Bhutan in New Delhi, is accredited to Japan.
Relations with Japan date back to 1964 when Keiji Nishioka was assigned to Bhutan as a Colombo Plan expert to assist in the agriculture sector in Bhutan. He was conferred the title of ‘Dasho’ in 1980 by His Majesty the Fourth King for his outstanding contributions in modernising farming methods and uplifting the lives of Bhutanese farmers. The late Dasho Nishoka left an enduring legacy in the hearts of Bhutanese people. He was a pioneer in agriculture mechanization and laid foundations of a modern agriculture system in Bhutan.
Bhutan has received over the years Japanese assistance in Grant Aid and Technical Cooperation in key areas of human resource development, agriculture, energy, telecommunications, health and education, and infrastructure, including roads and bridges which have made significant contributions to the socio-economic development of Bhutan. The two Governments have established a mechanism to hold Annual Consultations for effective implementation of substantive bilateral cooperation, promote better understanding through exchange of views on projects and issues of mutual interest.
Bhutan has also benefited from the valuable contributions and expertise of Japanese volunteers and JICA experts in critical sectors.
Since 1988, the JOCV Program has assisted in the economic and social development fields in Bhutan. Subsequently, the JICA Senior Volunteer Programme began in 2001. The JOCV Program Office was upgraded to JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) on 31 July 2003. The JOCV program in Bhutan has been executed through JICA since then. Since September 2019, the JOCV and JICA Senior Volunteers were categorized as one and referred to as JOCV only.