Following the six day official visit of Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to Japan which ended Sunday, April 16, the Japanese Government has decided to extend loans totaling to 45 billion yen for water supply development and basic infrastructure development in the former conflict-affected areas of Sri Lanka, as well as grant aid of one billion yen for the enhancement of the Trincomalee Port.
The Sunday Times newspaper in Colombo said that notes were exchanged in the presence of leaders of both countries for the yen loan for Rural Infrastructure Development Project in Emerging Regions (12.957 billion yen), a yen loan for the Kalu Ganga Water Supply Expansion Project (I) (31.81 billion yen), and the grant aid for the Economic and Social Development Programme (1 billion yen).
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe during his visit had called for renewal of closer economic ties between the two countries as he announced proposed Free Trade Agreements with India, China and Singapore.
Meanwhile in the backdrop of the disaster in Sri Lanka of a garbage disposal area collapsing in the Kolonnawa region on surrounding houses killing at least twenty one persons, Japan is the first country to offer the sending of a team of experts to assist Sri Lanka in providing relief to those who were affected.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinto Abe had informed Prime Minister Wickremesinghe that Japan would provide assistance to Sri Lanka in providing relief to the affected people, the Daily Mirror newspaper said Saturday.
Japan had last week announced the appointment of a special representative to coordinate development activities in Sri Lanka as was previously practiced when senior Japanese diplomat Yashushi Akashi was the representative of the government of Japan for Peace Building, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction in Sri Lanka upto around 2014. The new special representative of Japan is the Japanese Prime Minister’s advisor Dr Hirato Izumi.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and his delegation from Sri Lanka had discussed at length with the Japanese leaders, issues connected to maritime routes and security in the Indian Ocean region. During the meeting, Japanese Prime Minister Abe had stated that Japan wished to secure a free and open maritime border in the Indo-Pacific region and support stability and prosperity in the entire region, with emphasis on its relationship with Sri Lanka situated in a strategic point on the sea lanes.
Japan has confirmed that it would fully support Sri Lanka’s development as a hub in the Indian Ocean and that it would undertake to promote the development of infrastructure in sectors such as ports, transportation and energy, the Sunday Times newspaper noted.