Japan looks forward to further deepening the relationship of the longstanding friendship of Japan and Sri Lanka, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said.
The Japanese Foreign Minister said that Japan will continue its efforts to extend financial assistance to Sri Lanka through the annual yen loan and the grants extended for infrastructure development in the country, when the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa called on the Japanese Minister on March 23rd in Tokyo.
Minister Gemba further observed that Japan has witnessed the committed efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka towards reconciliation and development in the country along with the establishment of the LLRC. The Foreign Minister stated he is confident that within these efforts Sri Lanka would bring about a concrete outcome of the committed endeavours of the Government.
During the discussion, the Defence Secretary conveyed to Foreign Minister Gemba the appreciation of the Government of Sri Lanka for the continued assistance extended by the Government of Japan and invited the Foreign Minister to visit Sri Lanka and witness the peace and development in the country. As Japan currently has the highest number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka from the East Asian region, the Defence Secretary conveyed the intention of encouraging more Japanese visitors to travel to Sri Lanka this year. He also briefed Foreign Minister Gemba of the ongoing development in the country and the initiatives taken by the Government in reconstruction and reconciliation. Of the initiatives that the Government is committed to, the Defence Secretary informed that at present 90% of demining work in the North East has been completed and almost 98% of 300,000 people who were displaced have been resettled and given livelihood assistance. In addition, he stated the Government is clearly committed to reconstruction of infrastructure, road and irrigation networks in the country; bringing normalcy back to the region is one of the key priorities of the Government and Sri Lanka is fully committed to the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC.
Foreign Minister Gemba also thanked the Government of Sri Lanka for the assistance extended to Japan at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 11th March last year.