Strong Japan Sri Lanka bilateral relations continue to expand


Wataru Takeshita MP, with translator.
Pic by Dharamasena Welipitiya

By Steve A. Morrell

The Japanese would not forget President J. R. Jayewardene’s kind words at the San Francisco peace conference following the conclusion of the World War II, said President of the Japan – Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship League, Wataru Takeshita, MP.

Sri Lanka’s representative at the conference the then Finance Minister J. R.Jayewardene renounced Sri Lanka’s right for reparations from Japan. In so doing, he quoted the message of the Buddha. "Hatred ceases not by hatred, but by love." In original Pali, the words are "Nahi Verena Verani. Sammantidha Kudachanan. Averenacha Sammanthi. Esa Dhammo Sananthano." He appealed to the victor nations to give Japan independence and freedom, despite the opposing views expressed by the representative of the Soviet Union.

MP Takeshita said cordial relations that had existed for decades between both countries would be expanded in a climate of cooperation and friendship. Citing the tsunamis that devastated many parts in both countries, he said it had to be recorded that Sri Lanka extended its assistance to Japan to tide over those difficult times.

Japan’s current aid programme for assistance to Sri Lanka’s Culture, Education and other areas, amounted 100 Billion Yen, would continue, Takeshita said.

He said Japan would continue to support Sri Lanka’s export products particularly tea and garments.

Considering Sri Lanka’s location in the Indian Ocean, Japan’s donation of two patrol boats to the Navy was to ensure that Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity was safeguarded. Japan did not have a defence force but could assist in maintaining security in the Indian Ocean region. Security exchanges would also be increased, the visiting Japanese MP emphasised.

Future activities of the Japan–Sri Lanka Friendship league would include reciprocal visits of Members of Parliament of both countries, initiated by visit of Prime Minister Abe to Sri Lanka and visits to Japan by President Sirisena, and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe.

He also said 40,000 Japanese tourists had visited Sri Lanka last year. This number would increase in 2018, he said.

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