PRESS RELEASES 2016
1. Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense of Japan, Mr. Hiroyuki Miyazawa will visit Sri Lanka from December 19 to 21, 2016. This will be the first bilateral visit by the political level of the Government of the Ministry of Defense.
2. During his stay, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Miyazawa will meet with dignitaries of the Government of Sri Lanka, including Hon. Ruwan Wijeyawardene State Minister of Defense, to exchange views on wide range of matters of mutual interest.
Guided by the Embassy of Japan, a media delegation visited Jaffna and Kilinochchi for its coverage of Japanese assistance of rehabilitation in the North.
It was a 4 days program, 28th November to 1st December, with 14 media people from 11 organizations. On 28th November, the delegation joined briefing of projects, ” Rehabilitation of Kilinochchi Water Supply Scheme”, “Project for the Improvement of Central Functions of Jaffna Teaching Hospital” and “Project for Rehabilitation of Community Infrastructure, Improvement of Livelihoods and Empowerment of Women in the Northern and Eastern Provinces (RCI)”.
On 30th November, the delegation visited Jaffna to cover “The Project for Demining in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka”. The Government of Sri Lanka aims for being mine-impact free by the year 2020, and Japan is the only county to assist this activity since 2010.
Media briefing Coverage of demining activity Interview with an employee
In the afternoon, they moved to Kilinochchi to see” Rehabilitation of Kilinochchi Water Supply Scheme”. It is aimed to rehabilitate water supply system in Killinochchi, which had been constructed before the conflict. The system will supply safe and secured water to people in the planning area.
After that, back to Jaffna, the delegation saw “Project for the Improvement of Central Functions of Jaffna Teaching Hospital”. It was aimed to improve the health and medical services of the Jaffna Teaching Hospita by constructing a building for Central Functions and providing facilities for a central operating theater complex and others, thereby contributing to improvement of the health of local residents.
Interview with a doctor of ICU
On 1st December, the delegation visited Kilinochchi again to see “Project for Rehabilitation of Community Infrastructure, Improvement of Livelihoods and Empowerment of Women in the Northern and Eastern Provinces (RCI)”. It was implemented by UN HABITAT through the fund of Japan, aiming to
- Rehabilitate and reconstruct damaged or destroyed small community infrastructure including multipurpose community centers, preschools, storm water drainage, rainwater harvesting systems, and planting of trees.
- Improve economic opportunities through improving access roads, storage facilities, irrigation channels and skills development in the communities.
- Empower women through vocational and leadership training and through access to credit facilities.
The delegation visited a women’ s group which was empowered through access to credit facilities and a preschool.
Interview among saving group members
Visit to a shop which was opened through the saving fund
Coverage in a preschool
Interview with a teacher in the preschool
The delegation has released some articles introducing the Japanese long term assistance to Sri Lanka such. The assistance toward demining activity has been broadcasted by 3 TV networks, and published by several newspapers. The other assistance has been also published widely by several newspapers.
His Excellency Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan, awarded the Foreign Minister’s Commendations to Mr. B. R. L. Fernando, Professor Piyaseeli Wijemanne, and Mr. Colombage Sarath Wimalasiri De Costa, at a special ceremony held on 22nd November, 2016 at the Ambassador’s residence in Colombo.
The Foreign Minister’s Commendations are awarded to individuals and groups for their outstanding achievements in international fields, to acknowledge their contribution to the promotion of friendship between Japan and foreign countries.
Mr. Fernando was awarded the commendation in recognition of promoting the 5S management practices* as a member of Japan Sri Lanka Technical and Cultural Association (JASTECA) which is an alumni association of business persons who underwent technical training in Japan.
Professor Wijemanne, who is attached to the Department of Sinhala, University of Peradeniya was commended for contributing to the training of Sinhala specialists of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and to the dissemination of Japanese literature in Sri Lanka by translating “Kappa” written by Ryunosuke Akutagawa and some short-stories such as ‘Kinosaki nite’ written by Naoya Shiga to Sinhalese.
Mr. De Costa received the commendation because of his effort in promoting the economic relationship between Japan and Sri Lanka in his capacity as one of the Vice Presidents of Sri Lanka – Japan Business Co-operation Committee (SLJBCC) since 1979 as well as in promoting trade and investment between the two countries and establishing two sister-cities relationships between the City of Moratuwa and Suita and between the City of Nuwara Eliya and Uji as Honorary Consul General for Sri Lanka in Osaka, Japan, from 1980 to 1997.
*The 5S management practices: the name of a workplace organization method that uses a list of five Japanese words, namely, Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Systematic arrangement), Seiso (Shine), Seiketsu (Standardize) and Shitsuke (Sustain)
The 23rd “Bunka (Cultural) Awards” ceremony, organized by the Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund, was held on Sunday 6th November at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, Colombo 07. Hon. S. B. Navinna, Minister of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development & Cultural Affairs, graced the occasion as Chief Guest while H. E. Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan, graced the occasion as Guest of Honour. Mr. Shungo Yoshioka, President of the Japanese Solidarity Association of Sri Lanka, Prof. Carlo Fonseka, Co-Chairman of the Fund and other distinguished invitees including members of the diplomatic corps and renowned Sri Lankan artists were also present at this occasion.
The Bunka Awards are presented annually by the Fund, which was established in 1993, on the initiative of the Japanese Solidarity Association and the Japanese Commerce and Industry Association in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan. They aim to encourage and promote Sri Lankan artists with artistic remarkable talents in such fields as drama, theatre, dance, music, painting, sculpture, pottery, photography, lyric writing, literature, video animation and visual arts. For the past twenty three years, 124 individuals and organizations received the Bunka Awards for their outstanding creative activities in culture and arts.
This year the following five Sri Lankan artistes received the prestigious Bunka Awards (in alphabetical order). At the stage each award winner displayed their versatile talents which had merited their selection.
- Ms. Ruwanthie de Chickera (Theatre)
- Mrs. Sulochna Dissanayake (Puppetry)
- Ms. Kishani Jayasinghe (Music)
- Mr. Vimukthi Jayasundara (Cinema)
- Dr. S. Jayasankar (Theatre)
Moreover, there was a special feature at this year’s Bunka Awards presentation ceremony, which were the live performances of drumming by the Japanese traditional drum troupe “FUKAZAWAGUMI” and of dancing by the Japanese traditional dance troupe “KIKUNOKAI,” both of which are professional performers flown down from Japan with courtesy from the Cathay Pacific Airlines Colombo office.
The Bunka Awards presentation ceremony will be telecasted at one of Rupavahini channels shortly for the benefit of the Sri Lankan public.
On 3rd November 2016, the Government of Japan announced the conferment of “The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun” upon Hon. Karu Jayasuriya, Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka, as recognition for his significant contribution in promoting bilateral relations between Japan and Sri Lanka.
A congratulatory message was sent by Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, on 3rd November upon the announcement stating “Please accept my sincerest congratulations on the conferment of ‘The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun”, in recognition of your outstanding contribution, and my best wishes for your continued good health and happiness”.
Before Hon. Jayasuriya went into politics in 1996 he served in private sector for 32 years. While visiting Japan and doing business with Japanese companies as a leading businessman from Sri Lanka, he conceived an idea that Sri Lanka could develop by taking Japan as an example, and he wished for stronger ties between the two countries.
Since then, he has worked continuously for the promotion of bilateral relations, and when the Sri Lanka-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Association was established in 2001, he joined it as a Member of Parliament and later served as the President of Association from 2002 to 2004. During his tenure, he received Japanese parliamentary delegations many times.
Hon. Jayasuriya also held various ministerial posts successively before being elected Speaker of Parliament, and facilitated many Japanese development assistance projects coming under his scopes of work.
Hon. Jayasuriya, as the Speaker of Parliament and a patron of the Sri Lanka-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Association, is keen to further promote exchanges between the Parliaments as well as Members of Parliaments of the two countries. Since assuming office as Speaker he initiated Parliament to Parliament Diplomacy.
This is the first time that this highest decoration is being given to a Sri Lankan. The other dignitaries who will receive the same decoration together with Hon. Jayasuriya this time are as follows:
- Mr. Cesar Enrique Aguinaldo Virata (Philippines)
Former Prime Minister
Former Minister of Finance
- Mr. Franklin M. Drilon (Philippines)
Former Senate President
Senate President Pro-Tempore
President of the Philippines-Japan Parliamentarians Association
- Mr. John J. Hamre (U.S.A.)
Former Deputy Secretary of Defense
President and CEO of the Center for Strategic & International Studies
- Mr. John Andrew Boehner (U.S.A.)
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives
Former Member of the House of Representatives
- Dr. HAN Sung Joo (Republic of Korea)
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs
Professor Emeritus at Korea University
Honorary President, The Seoul Forum for International Affairs
The Government of Japan on November 3, 2016 announced the conferment of “The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Silver Rays” upon Mr. Lansakara Herath Mudiyanselage Sunil, former staff of Administrative Section, Embassy of Japan in recognition for his long-term outstanding contributions to the Embassy.
Mr.Sunil Herath joined the Embassy of Japan in May 1987 and served for a period of 28 years first as a Chauffeur and subsequently as a staff member of Administrative Section. During the period of service he had performed his duties with utmost diligence and sincerity and contributed to the diplomatic activities of the Embassy of Japan.
“The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Silver Rays”, one of the decorations of Japan, is awarded by the Emperor of Japan to foreign nationals who have made notable contributions to enhance bilateral relations with Japan.
On 3rd November 2016, the Government of Japan announced the conferment of “The Order of the Sacred Treasure Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon” upon Prof. Monte Cassim, in recognition of his significant contribution in promoting higher education at private institutions in Japan and mutual understanding between Japan and Sri Lanka.
A congratulatory message was sent by Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Japan, on 3rd November upon the announcement stating “Please accept my sincerest congratulations on the conferment of ‘The Order of the Sacred Treasure Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon’, in recognition of your outstanding contribution, and my best wishes for your continued good health and happiness”
As a professor of Ritsumeikan University, Japan, Prof. Monte Cassim had tutored many students since 1994. He assumed the post of President of the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in 2004 and expanded admission to over 5,000 students into the university, not only from Japan but also from over 90 countries and regions. As a result, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University became known as an innovative institute of higher education where more than half its student population was international students while approximately 40 percent of its faculty and staff were foreigners. A large number of its global minded graduates are now contributing immensely in many fields in various parts of the world.
In addition, Prof. Cassim was appointed as Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in 2015 and contributed to the success of the visit by Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe to Japan in October 2015. He continues to promote exchanges between Japan and Sri Lanka particularly in the fields of research and development as well as science and technology.
Ambassador at the Mattala Airport Ambassador at the Hambantota Port Ambassador at the Dole Lanka Farm, Buttala
H. E. Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka paid an official visit to Matara, Hambantota and Monaragala Districts for the first time since assuming duties in Sri Lanka in June 2015.
Ambassador at the Ruhuna University Ambassador at the Matara Municipal Council
On 24th October, he paid a courtesy call on Mr. Senaka Palliyaguruge, Municipal Commissioner of Matara Municipal Council and exchanged views on economic and social development in Matara, including maintenance of public service, such as garbage collection. Later, he visited the University of Ruhuna to meet Senior Prof. Gamini Senanayake, Vice Chancellor, and academic staff who are Japanese universities alumni, and discussed academic development of the university and cooperation with the Japanese academia.
On 25th October, he visited a farm in Buttala, Monaragala, operated by Dole Lanka Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of Itochu Corporation. Guided by the management staff, he studied the whole process of banana production from growing in the field to packing for exportation. Later, he visited Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport and observed the airport facility.
On 26th October, he visited a computer manufacturing plant in Sooriyawewa, Hambantota, operated by EWIS Group, a business partner of Toppan Forms Co., Ltd. Guided by the management staff, he studied the assembling process of electronic devices and was impressed by the high technology utilized in the plant. Later, he visited Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port and observed the port facility.
inaugurate to distribute Clean Water to the Public
The newly constructed Maha Oya Water Treatment Plant funded by the Government of Japan inaugurate to distribute Clean Water to the Public after it was ceremonially handed over to the National Water Supply and Drainage Board under the patronage of His Excellency President, Maithripala Sirisena and His Excellency Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka, at Maha Oya on the 19th of October 2016.
The Government of Japan provided 4,850 million Japanese Yen (approximately LKR. 6,300 million) towards the construction of Maha Oya Water Treatment Plant in Ampara District under the Eastern Province Water Supply Development Project which aims to benefit around 210,000 people in the Ampara District. Japan, through its Official Development Assistance program, has contributed to Sri Lanka’s social and economic development over the past six decades, which assistance has filtered through virtually every key sector of Sri Lanka targeting poverty alleviation and meeting the basic needs of the people living in both urban and rural areas.
The Government and the people of Japan, hope that the newly built water treatment facility will ensure the provision of safe drinking water to the local community, and facilitate the long term development in Sri Lanka.
Development Policy Loan and Anuradhapura North Water Supply Project
The Government of Japan extends a loan package up to the amount of Japanese Yen 33,137 million (approximately Rs. 48 billion) to the Government of Sri Lanka consisting of two loans aimed at facilitating the economic and social development in the country.
The details of the program and project financed under the loans are as follows;
(1) Development Policy Loan (Private Sector Development, Governance Improvement and Fiscal Consolidation) (Japanese Yen 10,000 million)
In 2015, Sri Lankan economy recorded 4.8 percent real GDP growth. In order to achieve more sustainable economic growth, the government of Sri Lanka has prioritized a package of policy and institutional reforms in macro-economic and public financial management, as well as the promotion of the private sector.
This loan is to provide untied financial support directly to the treasury upon completion of the package of policy and institutional reforms by the Government of Sri Lanka.
Co-financed with the World Bank Group, this loan supports the Government of Sri Lanka’s efforts to i) reduce obstacles to private sector competitiveness, ii) establish transparent and well managed public institutions, and iii) improve fiscal sustainability.
(2) Anuradhapura North Water Supply Project (Phase 2) (Japanese Yen 23,137 million)
Located in North Central Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura District is an arid region without any nearby rivers or other water sources, and residents rely on limited groundwater drawn from wells for daily living. A high concentration of fluoride, which is harmful to the human body, has been detected in the groundwater, and the harm being inflicted on personal health is a major priority. Furthermore, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is prevalent in the area, of which exact cause is still unknown, but some researchers consider that contaminants in the groundwater may be one of the causes.
The Anuradhapura North Water Supply Project (Phase 2) will improve the water supply facilities and switch the water source from groundwater to safe surface water, improving the access of area residents to safe drinking water.
The Phase 2 of this project is to supplement and broaden the project implementation area of the Phase 1, which is now ongoing with the loan amounting to Japanese Yen 5,166 million extended in March 2013.
These loans offered on highly concessional terms and conditions are administered by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The signing of the Exchange of Notes took place today between H.E. Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka and Ms. G.D. Chandra Ekanayake, Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance, followed by the signing of a Loan Agreement between Mr. Hidetoshi Irigaki, Vice President of JICA and Ms. G.D. Chandra Ekanayake, Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance, at the Ministry’s premises. Dr. Hiroto Izumi, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan, who is currently in Sri Lanka, and Hon. Niroshan Perera, State Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, testified the signings.
1. Dr. Hiroto Izumi, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan, will visit Sri Lanka from October 8 to 11 to attend the first Japan-Sri Lanka Joint Committee and other events. The Joint Committee was agreed to be established at the Japan–Sri Lanka summit meeting in May this year in order to ensure expeditious implementation of the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership between the two countries when H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka, visited Japan to attend the Outreach Meeting during the G7 Ise-Shima Summit.
2. Earlier in October 2015, Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe paid an official visit to Japan, and the prime ministers of the two countries have decided to deepen cooperation in the multifaceted fields under a “Comprehensive Partnership”. At the Joint Committee this time, a wide range of topics such as economic development, maritime security, national reconciliation and peace building will be discussed to promote concrete cooperation under such Partnership.
3. During his stay, Dr. Izumi is also scheduled to call on Prime Minister Wickremeshinghe and also attend events such as the Japan-Sri Lanka Urban Development Seminar 2016 and a ship reception on board of the Training Ship KASHIMA of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, currently on call in Colombo.
The Government of Japan has decided to provide a total sum of US$ 811,369 (Approximately Rs. 115,417,410) in grant aid for two organizations for humanitarian demining in Northern Sri Lanka, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP).
The two projects are: “The Project for Demining in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka”, implemented by Delvon Assistance for Social Harmony Sri Lanka (DASH) with a sum of US$ 590,415 (approximately Rs. 83,986,640) and “Project for Manual Demining in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka”, implemented by SKAVITA Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Project (SHARP) with a sum of US$ 220,954 (approximately Rs. 31,430,770). It is expected that these projects would contribute to expedite the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka to make mine contaminated areas safe lands for people to return and resume their livelihood activities.
Japan has been a major donor supporting mine clearance in Sri Lanka to accelerate the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and to facilitate engagement in agriculture and other livelihood activities of the returnees. Since 2003, the Government of Japan has provided a sum of nearly US$ 29.5 million for demining activities in the North and the East under its Grant Assistance schemes. This can be seen as a vital contribution by Japan in achieving Sri Lanka’s target of being mine-impact free by the year 2020.
DASH Program Manager; Mr. Ananda Chandrasiri noted that, the Government is determined to see Sri Lanka is mine-impact free by the end of 2020. The Sri Lankan programme has proved to be one of the most successful mine action stories in the world. The generous and consistent assistance by the Government of Japan has been a crucial and a key factor behind this success. Japan has always been a very close and supportive friend of Sri Lanka.
Being the only national demining organization in operation in the country for 7 years until now, DASH mostly employs needy people from mine-affected areas, and in this way the mine clearance, through their employment, contributes to the needed cash-flow of their society. There still is a great demand for demining in the country to ensure further improvement in the livelihood opportunities of the mine-affected people living in the North that would undoubtedly strengthen the peace and reconciliation endeavor pursued by our Government.
According to Lt Col (Retd) V.S.M. Jayawardhana, Programme Manager of SHARP; “The Japanese Embassy in Sri Lanka through the GGP funding scheme has once again come to the forefront of demining activities in Sri Lanka by sponsoring the newest local demining agency, SKAVITA Humanitarian Assistance Relief Project (SHARP) registered as a non- profit civilian demining NGO with the Ministry of Resettlement, Reconstruction & Hindu Religious Affairs, which controls mine action in Sri Lanka. SHARP is the second local NGO currently involved in de-mining activities in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Right from its inception, the Japanese Embassy assisted and encouraged SHARP to commence demining operations by funding and supporting the successful deployment of 02 demining teams from March until 10th September 2016 through the supervision of DASH, the first Sri Lankan demining agency. On completion of the first project, the Japanese Embassy has decided to continue their assistance by providing direct funding to SHARP for its second assignment.”
The two Grant Contracts were signed between His Excellency Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan and Mr. Ananda Chandrasiri, Programme Manager, DASH and Lt Col (Retd) V.S.M. Jayawardhana, Programme Manager, SHARP, respectively, on 6th of October 2016 at the Embassy of Japan in Colombo.
The Government of Japan has decided to grant 52.6 million Japanese Yen (approximately Rs.73.6 million) worth of TV programs to Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation.
This project aims to upgrade and improve knowledge and awareness of Japanese culture, value and lifestyle among Sri Lankan viewers through specially designed Japanese TV programs to be telecast in Sinhala and Tamil and reaching out to all areas of Sri Lanka.
It will be utilized for the procurement of a total of 449 TV programs, including documentaries on Japanese industry, technology, economy, nature, science and environment as well as educational programs for children. These Japanese programs will be dubbed into Sinhala and Tamil, so that they could be easily understood by all communities in Sri Lanka.
In this connection, the Government of Japan also approved Rs. 42.7 million to be financed through the Counterpart Fund under Japan’s non-project grant aid scheme to cover part of the cost of the project. This fund will be utilized for covering costs of dubbing Japanese programs into Sinhalese and Tamil, subtitling the Sinhala dubbed Japanese programs into Tamil, production of trailers and crawlers as well as airtime for trailers and crawlers.
The signing of the Exchange of Notes took place on September 13, 2016 between H.E. Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka and Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, Secretary, for Ministry of Finance, at the Ministry premises.
The Government of Japan has decided to provide 230 million Japanese Yen (approximately Rs. 330 million) as food grant assistance to the value of the Government of Sri Lanka for school meals in Northern Province through World Food Programm’s (WFP’s)Food Assistance Program.
From 2012 to 2015, the Government of Japan has provided food grant assistance amounting to 740 million Japanese Yen to the Government of Sri Lanka through the WFP in order to sustain the Schools Meals Program. Good nutrition is a major factor in physical as well as mental growth of children and supporting this program is of much importance to the welfare of Sri Lanka’s future generation.
The signing of the grant agreement took place in Rome on September 09th, 2016 between H.E. Mr. Kazuyoshi Umemoto, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Italy and Ms. Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, UN World Food Programme.
The Government of Japan approved the extension by 2 years, as requested by the Government of Sri Lanka, of the financing of the capacity development program in Sri Lanka through the Academy of Financial Studies (AFS). The amount which will be utilized in this period is approximately Rs. 165 million.
The program is aimed at institutionalizing and enhancing the capacity of AFS, the training arm of the Ministry of Finance established in January 2013.
Japan recognizes the paramount importance of enhancing institutional capacity of the public sector in the transformation of Sri Lanka as an upper-middle-income economy.
Since the first financing approval in 2014, this institution has vitalized the intellectual exchanges between Japan and Sri Lanka, such as organizing several seminars at the AFS imparting knowledge on areas of specific importance to the public sector, which has benefitted senior staff of the Ministry of Finance and other key institutions coming under its purview.
The Government of Japan intends to combine assistance through various channels to support this program so that AFS will be better equipped with improved capacity to design, propose, execute and evaluate national economic and fiscal policies toward promoting investment and economic development for the benefit of the people of Sri Lanka. Through the aggregate project period, around 8,500 managerial staff will benefit through training covering the diverse areas of significance including economic policy, fiscal policy, planning, accounting, revenue administration and related information technology.
The Government of Japan hopes that this assistance will develop AFS as a center of knowledge and excellence for the public finance sector officials in Sri Lanka and continue to acquire regional recognition.
Japan to Extend LKR 86,399,929 for Humanitarian Mine clearance
for Resettlement and Livelihoods in Northern Sri Lanka
The Government of Japan has decided to provide a total sum of LKR 86,399,929 (Approximately USD 607,380) in grant aid for humanitarian mine clearance in Northern Sri Lanka, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP).
The “Project for Humanitarian Mine clearance for Resettlement and Livelihoods in Northern Sri Lanka”, implemented by The HALO Trust, will expedite the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka to make mine contaminated areas safe lands for people to return to and resume their livelihood activities.
Japan has been a major donor supporting mine clearance in Sri Lanka to accelerate the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and to facilitate engagement in agriculture and other livelihood activities of the returnees. Since 2003, the Government of Japan has provided a sum of approximately US$ 28.7 million for demining activities in the North and the East under its Grant Assistance schemes. This can be seen as a vital contribution by Japan in achieving Sri Lanka’s target of being mine-impact free by the year 2020.
Mr. Robert Syfret, Operations Manager of The HALO Trust noted that “Japan has been a steadfast donor to HALO, and all mine clearance action in Sri Lanka, supporting us without fail since 2003. This consistent support by the Government of Japan has been crucial in allowing us to continue clearance of the highest priority minefields in the country. This year alone teams supported by the Government of Japan have cleared over 26 hectares and removed more than 8,183 mines and other explosive items. This has ensured the safe resettlement of over 800 people and enabled approximately 6,645 people to return to their lands for productive use of housing, farming and infrastructure. This will enhance peace and prosperity in the north for the benefit of all Sri Lankans. We know how much work remains to be done. The Government of Sri Lanka is fully engaged and we have the knowledge and staff to do it, if donors will help us achieve our goal. With Japan’s continued support we can aim to achieve a mine impact free Sri Lanka.”
The Grant Contract was signed between His Excellency Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan and Mr. Edward Robert Syfret, Operations Manager of The HALO Trust on the 1st of September 2016 at the Embassy of Japan in Colombo.
The opening ceremony of the refurbished Japanese Section at the Colombo Public Library was held on Thursday 11th August 2016.
His Excellency Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka, Ms.Thamara Malawaarachchi, Deputy Commissioner, Colombo Municipal Council, Mr. Eiji Suga, Vice President, Japanese Solidarity Association, Ms. Varuni Gangabadaarachchi, Chief Librarian, Colombo Public Library and distinguished guests attended the ceremony.
This project was realized through the good will collaboration of Japanese residents in Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan friends of Japan. New book shelves, desks and chairs etc. were funded by the Japanese community while approximately 350 books on Japan related topics were mainly donated by Sri Lankan nationals.
Speaking at the ceremony, H.E. Ambassador Suganuma expressed his gratitude to those involved with this project and expressed his hope that this refurbished Japanese Section would serve as a centre of friendly exchange between Japan and Sri Lanka and a symbol of the long-standing friendly relations between the peoples of Japan and Sri Lanka.
Pictures at the opening ceremony
August 5, 2016
Government of Japan Provides Waste Collection Trucks to Colombo Municipal Council
His Excellency Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan handed over 12 Waste Collection Trucks to Mr.V.K.A. Anura, Municipal Commissioner, Colombo Muncipal Council (CMC) in the presence of Hon. Mr. Isura Devapriya, Chief Minister of Western Province at an official handing over ceremony held at the Colombo Municipal Council premises.
“The Project for Upgrading Waste Collection Trucks in Colombo” under Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP), was implemented by the Solid Waste Management Division of Colombo Muncipal Council. The project enabled the procurement of 12 used waste collection trucks from Japan and conduct of a maintenance training programme for the relevant officials of the CMC on the proper usage of these vehicles which will contribute to enhance the cleanliness and hygienic environment of the city of Colombo and suburbs through an upgraded waste management service. These trucks were initially donated by several local authorities in Japan viz., 3 from Osaka city, 2 from Chiba city, 2 from Sapporo city, 2 from Okayama city, 1 from Sagamihara city, 1 from Kakamigahara Seiso Co. Ltd., 1 from Mizumaki Bika Center and facilitated through the courtesy of the Society for Promotion of Japanese Diplomacy (SPJD), an organization in Japan which carries out a particular scheme to coordinate the donation of used vehicles such as waste collection trucks to foreign countries. Moreover, the week-long training of relevant officials from the CMC on the operation and maintenance of these trucks was conducted by Japanese Engineers from Kyokuto Kaihatsu Kogyo Co., Ltd.. The aim of the training was to provide sufficient knowledge on the equipment and the multiple functions for the safe operation of the vehicles and their proper maintenance on a daily basis as well as periodical servicing.
This contribution is viewed as momentous in the upgrading of Solid Waste Management Units, which will have a tremendous impact on the clean and hygienic environment in and around the city of Colombo. This cordial gesture is also viewed as further strengthening of warm and friendly relations between the two countries.
A leading Japanese IT company, Metatechno opened a new IT higher education institution under the name Lanka Nippon Biztech Institution (LNBTI) in Maharagama on Friday 29th July 2016. This institution is established by the collaboration of Metatechno and a Sri Lankan company, hSenid International, and is unique because it not only teaches Software Engineering and computer science, but also Japanese language and Japanese business culture, opening up possibilities for students to work in companies worldwide.
One of the main advantages of studying at the LNBTI is the potential of securing immediate employment opportunities in Sri Lanka, or Japan. hSenid International too has offered to provide several internship opportunities for the LNBTI students during their final year of study.
H.E Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, the Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka, graced the opening ceremony as chief guest. Speaking at the event, the Ambassador said “It is significant that LNBTI aims to develop human resources by teaching not only IT related subjects but also practical Japanese language proficiency and knowledge about Japanese company’s business culture. This is both an innovative project of business expansion and a provision of higher education to youth in Sri Lanka by Japanese companies. I am sure that this establishment would contribute to further promotion of the friendship and economic relationship between Japan and Sri Lanka”
A Japanese Cultural Exhibition will be held at the Lionel Wendt Gallery, No. 18, Guildford Crescent, Colombo 7, from 13th to 14th August 2016. The Exhibition has been organized by the Embassy of Japan in collaboration with the Japanese Language Teachers’ Association of Sri Lanka, and will feature Ikebana (floral arrangements), Bonsai (miniature tree planting) and Origami (paper folding) in the form of display and demonstrations. Moreover, a special tea ceremony will also be held.
The Exhibition will be open to the general public on 13th August 2016 from 12.00 noon to 6.00 p.m. and on 14th August from 9.00 a.m. to 6.00.p.m. Admission to the Exhibition is free of charge. Demonstrations will be held as follows;
Tea Ceremony - 13th August 13:30 ~ 14:30
14th August 10.00 ~ 11.00
Bonsai - 14th August 13.00 ~ 14.00
Ikebana - 13th August 14:45 ~ 15:45
14th August 14:15 ~ 15:15
Origami - 13th August 16:00 ~ 17:00
14th August 15:30 ~ 16:30
The Exhibition is designed to display Japan’s culture and lifestyle and thereby to further enhance the friendly relations between the peoples of Japan and Sri Lanka.
See colour poster
Japan and Sri Lanka will hold the Consultation on National Development Cooperation and the Economic Policy Dialogue on 26th July 2016 at Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel, Colombo. These two meetings will be held as a follow up to the visit to Japan by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe in October 2015, during which Prime Minister Abe and Mr. Wickremasinghe agreed upon a ‘Comprehensive Partnership’ to further deepen bilateral cooperation. The meetings will focus on ways to assist Sri Lanka’s national development plan and to promote trade and investment between Japan and Sri Lanka.
Japan will be represented by Mr. Hirofumi Katase, Vice-Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, H.E. Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan and other senior officials of relevant Ministries at these meetings, while Hon. Mr. Malik Samarawickrama, Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade and Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Governor of the Central Bank will represent Sri Lanka. Secretaries and representatives from relevant Sri Lankan Ministries and institutions are also expected to participate.
The Government of Japan has selected the 3rd batch of 15 prospective scholars under its Second Phase of Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resources Development Scholarship (JDS) Program – 2016 which commenced in September 2014, based on the official agreement with the Government of Sri Lanka. This year the Government of Japan pledges a grant amounting to 231 million Japanese Yen (approximately Rs. 305 million) to cover the cost of the study programs of the 3rd batch of 15 officials in Japan. Since its inception in 2010, 90 public sector officials in Sri Lanka have benefited from JDS program.
The JDS Program aims to train and develop the skills of young executive officers in the public sector to become future national leaders of Sri Lanka, especially in formulating and implementing the national development plans. The Second Phase of JDS programme accommodates a total of 60 officials in four batches during the period from 2014 to 2017, providing the opportunity to pursue a 2-year Master’s course in the fields of ‘Public Policy and Public Finance’, ‘Economics’, ‘Business Management’, or ‘Environmental Management, Disaster Management, and Climate Change’ at the universities of National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Hitotsubashi University, Hiroshima University, Waseda University, International University of Japan (IUJ), University of Tsukuba, and the University of Tokyo. On successful completion of the study program, the officials will be awarded a MA/MBA in the respective study fields.
The signing of the Exchange of Notes for this grant aid scheme took place on July 4, 2016 at the Ministry of Finance between H. E. Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka on behalf of the Government of Japan and, Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, Secretary, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka.
The Government of Japan granted 1,830 million Japanese Yen (approximately Rs. 2.4 billion) to the Government of Sri Lanka for the implementation of the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement project.
This project aims to contribute to the improvement of the maritime safety capability of Sri Lanka Coast Guard (SLCG) by enabling SLCG to procure two petrol vessels to ensure safety navigation of vessels, anti-piracy, transnational crime countermeasures and prevention of destruction of marine environment and resources. This grant aid will be utilized for procurement of two 30m-class patrol vessels, including the construction of vessels, sea transportation from Japan to Sri Lanka, and familiarization training for coast guard personnel. The new patrol vessels are manufactured using steel in the hull and aluminum alloy in superstructure and each are equipped with two sets of water jet type propulsion system and driven by 2 sets of marine diesel engines.
The signing of the Exchange of Notes took place today between H.E. Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka and Dr. R H S Samaratunga, Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning at the Ministry premises. Rear Admiral Samantha Wimalathunga, Director General of Sri Lanka Coast Guard was also present at the signing ceremony.
The rhythmic sounds of Japanese drums combined with those of Sri Lankan drums reverberated within the precincts of the NYSC Auditorium, Maharagama on Sunday 12th June 2016, as an appreciative audience of around 500 experienced “Cool Japan, Warm Sri Lanka”, a joint drumming performance by “HA-YA-TO”, a popular Japanese Taiko drumming trio, together with “Sri Lanka Youth Dance Troupe” of the National Youth Services Council of Sri Lanka. While Ven. Kohrin Ohtani, Councillor of Honganji Foundation, Japan and His Excellency Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan in Sri Lanka, attended the event as the organizers, Honourable Karu Jayasuriya, Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka graced the occasion as a Guest of Honour.
Addressing the forum Ambassador Suganuma recalled with appreciation the religious and cultural affinities between Japan and Sri Lanka and their long-standing friendship. His Excellency also cited the role of drums in both countries as yet another salient feature in the social, religious and cultural fabric of life for both countries.
In his remarks, the Venerable Ohtani recalled various moments of their presence in Sri Lanka for many years with a view to promoting both religious and cultural exchanges between the two countries. The construction of the Bahamian Buddha Statue (giant replica) at Peraliya in order to pay tribute to the victims of the tsunami disaster and the establishment of the International Buddhist Museum in Kandy were cited as examples of their contributions over the years. He also said that this Taiko drum performance would not only contribute towards promoting the cultural relations between the two countries but also enable the Sri Lankan people to understand and appreciate Japanese spiritual assets of Buddhism enshrined within the Taiko performance.
HA-YA-TO and Ms. Michiko Yamada, as another guest musician from Japan, specializing in Japanese transverse bamboo flute, presented a variety of vibrant yet rhythmic performances of drumming with the participation of the Sri Lanka Youth Dance Troop.
The audience enjoyed their both solo and joint performances not only listening but also stamping their feet and clapping their hands in appreciation of the performances displayed on stage. The event was a wonderful opportunity for fellowship among Japanese and Sri Lankans and above all enabled the audience to understand and appreciate the Japanese spirit assets in the role of Taiko in Japan’s religious arena.
The event was organized by Honganji Foundation, Japan, supported by Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka and co-sponsored by Japan Foundation, ITN and NYSC.
Japan confers prestigious decoration on Mr. Gilbert Kulatilake
On 29th April 2016, the Government of Japan announced the conferment of “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays” upon Mr. Gilbert Kulatilake, Vice Patron of the Japan Sri Lanka Technical & Cultural Association (JASTECA) in recognition of his significant contribution in disseminating Japanese culture and promoting Japanese management systems in Sri Lanka.
His Excellency Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan formally conferred the Order upon Mr. Kulatilake on behalf of His Majesty the Emperor at a special ceremony held on June 9 at the Ambassador’s residence in Colombo.
Mr. Kulatilake has been rendering a great service in promoting bilateral relationship between Japan and Sri Lanka over the past forty years. Mr. Kulatilake started his close relationship with Japan by joining a six month training programme in Japan organized by the Asia Bunka Kaikan Dousoukai (asia cultural association) in 1970. In 1983, he became a member of Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship (AOTS). Thereafter, Mr. Kulatilake together with late Mr. Ian Dias and Mr. Lal De Alwis, played a key role in establishing JASTECA in 1984 and served as the founder Treasurer of JASTECA for eight years. Later on, he held the posts of General Secretary, Vice President and President of JASTECA. Mr. Kulatilake was instrumental in establishing two key institutions namely JASTECA Institute of Management (JIM) and Japanese Language Education Association of Sri Lanka (JLEA). Further he played a leading role in the formation of a new trust under the Asian Fight for Cancer Programme and establishing the Madam Ogawa Scholarship Fund. He served as the Chairman of the South Asian Federation of AOTS Alumni Societies (SAFAAS) in 2002/2004 and also chaired the 6th World Convention of AOTS. He is currently the Vice Patron of JASTECA, the Chairman of the JASTECA Trust, the Treasurer of Sasakawa Memorial Sri Lanka Japan Cultural Centre, a Trustee of JIM, JLEA and Madam Ogawa Trust Scholarship Fund and the Treasurer of Sasakawa Memorial Sri Lanka Japan Cultural Centre.
Mr. Kulatilake had followed a six - month training in Industrial Refrigeration and Air Conditioning at Hitachi Limited in Japan and also followed two special trainings for Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs organized by AOTS, Japan. Mr. Kulatilake is a fellow of the Charted Institute of Management, UK since 2001. He is a well- known veteran businessman and currently manages Unitag Industries Ltd. and Universal Label (Pvt.) Ltd. in Maharagama. Extending his service in social welfare, he serves as the Treasurer of the Cancer Charitable Foundation of National Cancer Institute.
May 28, 2016
“Cool Japan, Warm Sri Lanka: Japan-Sri Lanka
Traditional Drum Performance at the National Youth Services Council (NYSC), Maharagama
(Click here to see event leaflet)
“Cool Japan, Warm Sri Lanka”, a joint drumming performance by “HA-YA-TO” a popular Japanese traditional Taiko drumming trio, together with “Sri Lanka Youth Dance Troupe” of the NYSC of Sri Lanka, will be held at the NYSC, Maharagama on Sunday 12th June 2016 at 5.00 p.m.
HA-YA-TO, consisting of three young brothers of the same family, is a popular Taiko group in Japan and has travelled to several countries performing their own innovative styles of Taiko. The dancing troupe of the NYSC of Sri Lanka, established in 1988 under the guidance of versatile dancing master H.M. Rathnayake, consists of male and female artistes who are extremely talented and have performed at international events and won the admiration of many international audiences.
The event is organized by the Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka and the Honganji Foundation, Japan, co-sponsored by ITN and NYSC and supported by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Japan. The Honganji Foundation, led by Most Venerable Ohtani Chohjun, has been very active in promoting Japan-Sri Lanka cultural relations in recent years. Ven. Kohrin Ohtani, Senior Counsellor of Honganji Foundation, and His Excellency Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan in Sri Lanka will grace the occasion as Guests of Honour.
The performance has been organized with a view to further promoting Japan-Sri Lanka cultural exchanges. Admission to the performance will be free of charge and all are welcome.
1. The Government of Japan today handed over emergency relief goods worth about Rs. 32 million for the people affected by the flood and landslide in Sri Lanka. These include blankets, sleeping pads, mobile water purifiers, water tanks, mobile generator units and water purification tablets, flown in urgently from the JICA warehouse in Singapore. The ceremony was held this morning at the Ministry of Disaster Management, with attendance of H.E. Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan and Hon. Mr. Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, Minister of Disaster Management of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
2. Japan has also decided to dispatch two JICA experts on disaster management, who will be arriving tonight. They will hold discussions with the emergency team of the Ministry of Disaster Management on how to expedite the rescue efforts and to reduce further landslide risks. We will continue to provide assistance in the field of disaster risk reduction including meteorological observation and landslide mitigation.
3. The Government and people of Japan sincerely hope that the people of Sri Lanka will overcome this tragedy and strengthen the society’s resilience against disasters.
|Water Purification Tablet||5000|
Emergency Assistance to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
in Response to the Heavy Rainfall Disaster
1. Since May 15, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka has been suffering from floods and landslides across the country caused by the heavy rainfall around the Western region. According to the Government of Sri Lanka, as of May 19, 41 people were dead, 17 people missing and approximately 420,000 people affected from heavy rainfall.
2. Accordingly, on May 19, Mr. Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, and Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, have sent messages respectively to H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, the President of Sri Lanka and Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, extending condolences and sympathies to the affected people, wishing for rapid rehabilitation and reconstruction of the affected areas, and conveying Japan’s readiness to provide assistance.
3. On the same day, the Government of Japan has decided to provide emergency relief goods (Plastic Sheets, Water Purification Units, Generator etc.) to Sri Lanka, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in response to request from Sri Lanka in light of the friendly relationship between Japan and Sri Lanka.
The Government of Japan grants 1,667 million Japanese Yen (approximately Rs. 2.2 billion) to the Government of Sri Lanka for the Establishment of a Research and Training Complex at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Jaffna in Kilinochchi District of the Northern Province.
The objective of this project is to provide effective and efficient research and education activities on dry zone agriculture in the northern region at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Jaffna. This project will comprise of the establishment of a Research and Training Complex, a Processing Training Building and a Research and Training Farm with provision of essential equipment. The people and the Government of Japan hope that this project will enhance research and human resources development in the area of agriculture suited for northern area, thereby, contributing to improve agriculture productivity in the region.
The signing of the Exchange of Notes took place today between H.E. Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka and Dr. R H S Samaratunga, Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning at the Ministry premises. Hon. Mr. Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Finance, Hon. Mr. D M Swaminathan, Minister of Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs and Mr. Hiroto Izumi, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan, who is currently in Sri Lanka, testified the signing.
On 29th April 2016, the Government of Japan announced the conferment of “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays” upon Mr. Gilbert Kulatilake in recognition of his significant contribution in disseminating Japanese culture and promoting Japanese Management Systems in Sri Lanka.
Mr. Kulatilake is a pioneer in enhancing multifaceted relationship between Japan and Sri Lanka over the past forty years. Mr. Kulatilake started his close relationship with Japan by joining a training programme in Japan organized by the Asia Bunka Kaikan Dousoukai (asia cultural association) in 1970 under the guidance of his friend, late Mr.Ian Dias Abeysinghe. Thereafter he became a member of Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship (ATOS) in 1983. Mr. Kulatilake, together with late Mr. Ian Dias and Mr. Lal De Alwis, played a key role in establishing JASTECA in 1984 and was the founder Treasurer of JASTECA for eight years, enhancing it to the level of what it is today. Later on, he held the posts of General Secretary and Vice President of JASTECA. Again in 1999, he was elected as the President of JASTECA and during his tenure as the President, he succeeded in establishing JASTECA Institute of Management (JIM) and Japanese Language Education Association of Sri Lanka (JLEA) that have been offering tremendous service in promoting Japanese Management technology as well as Japanese language education here in Sri Lanka. Further, he chaired the 6th World Convention of AOTS and also played a leading role in the formation of a new trust under the Asian Fight for Cancer Programme and establishing the Madam Ogawa Scholarship Fund which marked a very fruitful era in the JASTECA’s history. He also served as the Chairman of the South Asian Federation of AOTS Alumni Societies (SAFAAS) in 2002/2004. Continuing his incredible service towards strengthening ties between two nations, he is currently the Vice Patron of JASTECA and also performs duties as the Chairman of the JASTECA Trust and a Trustee of JIM, JLEA, Madam Ogawa Trust Scholarship Fund and the Treasurer of Sasakawa Memorial Sri Lanka Japan Cultural Centre.
Mr. Kulatilake is an expert in engineering and had held managerial posts at several reputed private companies in Sri Lanka for more than 20 years. He had followed many specialized trainings in Japan and abroad. In particular, he followed a six months training in Industrial Refrigeration and Air Conditioning at Hitachi Limited in Japan and also followed two special trainings for Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs organized by AOTS, Japan. Mr. Kulatilake is a fellow of the Charted Institute of Management, UK since 2001.
Currently he manages two companies namely Unitag Industries Ltd and Universal Label (Pvt.) Ltd. in Maharagama contributing to the development of Sri Lanka’s economy. Owing to his keen interest in improving social welfare of needy people in Sri Lanka, he joined the Cancer Charitable Foundation of National Cancer Institute and presently he serves as the Treasurer of the Foundation.
A congratulatory message was sent by Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister of Foreign affairs in Japan, on 29th April upon the announcement stating “Please accept my sincerest congratulations on the conferment of ‘The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, in recognition of your outstanding contribution, and my best wishes for your continued good health and happiness”.
A ground breaking MoU to promote international academic research cooperation in the field of science and biotechnology was inked between Japan and Sri Lanka on Tuesday 19th April 2016 at the Board Room of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Sri Jayewardenepura with the participation of a distinguished gathering of academics from Japan, Sri Lanka and India. The MoU was signed between the University of Sri Jayewardenepura (USJP) and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan, acting through its Biomedical Research Institute (BMRI), Japan.
AIST is one of the largest public research organizations in Japan engaged in cutting-edge R & D bridging research achievements and industry and linking them to commercialization by companies. In October 2013, AIST had entered into an agreement with the Department of Biotechnology of the Government of India to establish a joint research laboratory named “DBT-AIST International Laboratory for Advanced Biomedicine” (DAILAB) at the Biomedical Research Institute at AIST, Tsukuba, Japan. The signing of the MoU in Sri Lanka is aimed at further expanding its network of DAILAB in South Asia, and promote trilateral cooperation between Japan, Sri Lanka and India in the areas of life sciences and biomedicine.
His Excellency Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka graced the occasion as Chief Guest and signed as a witness to the agreement while Prof. Sampath Amarathunga, Vice Chancellor, University of Sri Jayewardenepura and Dr. Yohsihiro Ohmiya, Director, BMRI, Japan were the main signatories to the instrument. Addressing the forum His Excellency Ambassador Suganuma welcomed the trilateral collaboration that he said was timely and in keeping with the renewed initiatives extended by the Government of Japan to the national development plan of the newly formed government of Sri Lanka headed by His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena.
The initiative will facilitate multidisciplinary and innovative research particularly in the field of life sciences and biomedicine, linking industry and academia, incorporating leading technological innovation into industries, establish Public-Private international partnerships with Japan, Sri Lanka and India and enhance global marketability of Sri Lankan natural products. The trilateral collaboration established between Japan, Sri Lanka and India through this instrument will benefit Sri Lanka in accelerating national development and industrialization.
A sum of Rs. 265,200 was donated to two NGOs, namely “Surangani Voluntary Service (SVS)” and “Only One World (OOW)” at a donation presentation ceremony presided over by Madam Akiko Suganuma, Spouse of Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka at the Japanese Ambassador’s official residence on Monday, 4 April 2016.
The fund was raised by the Association of Spouses of the Japanese Embassy Staff (ASJES) through an international bazaar held at the Hilton Colombo Residence on 29 November 2015. The Association has been supporting activities of many NGOs in Sri Lanka over the past 30 years.
SVS was founded in 1992 and supports mainly preschool education in Sri Lanka. The organization was represented by its Director Ms. Shigeko Baba at the ceremony. The donation from ASJES will be utilized to install lockers at a centre for handicapped children in Buttala, Monaragala. This has been the 15th donation from ASJES since 2001. Ms. Baba mentioned that the lockers would enable the children to keep their personal belongings in a tidy and orderly manner, which also help them to foster a sense of self-discipline.
OOW was founded in 1991 by former Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Japan Mr. Arthur Basnayake and his wife Mrs. Damini Basnayake. OOW grants scholarships to excellent students who are deprived of attending schools due to their poverty, and also donates medical equipment to hospitals. The donation from ASJES will be utilized for awarding scholarships to one male and one female student to pursue their higher studies at universities. This has been the 4th donation from ASJES since 2013.
Mr. W. Rusiru Dananjaya Perera and Miss. P. A. Madhushani Chaturika Kulatunga who will be awarded scholarships through OOW by ASJES this year expressed their gratitude to OOW and Japan at the ceremony. Dr. Vipula who represented OOW at the ceremony mentioned that the scholarships through OOW were extremely helpful to students who have economic difficulties.
(Message by H.E. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan
on the occasion of the 5th Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami- 11th March 2016)
It was exactly 5 years ago today that the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami hit devastating many parts of Eastern Japan. The disaster claimed 15,000 lives of people and even today more than 2,500 people are still missing, including foreign citizens.
As we mark the 5th year commemoration of this tragedy, I am pleased to mention that the most seriously affected Tohoku region is back again now following speedy and extensive reconstruction by the Government. Japan would like to extend a warm welcome the Sri Lankan people to visit Japan, particularly the Tohoku region and enjoy its beauty and climate once again.
Sri Lankan disaster relief team in Ishinomaki City on May 2011
I would also like to convey the warm feelings of gratitude of the government and people of Japan to the government and people of Sri Lanka for the magnanimous emergency assistance provided by Sri Lanka in the aftermath of this great tragedy. Japan received US$ 1 million as well as a consignment of Sri Lankan tea from the government and people of Sri Lanka. On hearing the scale of the disaster, Sri Lanka immediately provided emergency assistance and dispatched a 15-member disaster relief team. The team undertook their operations in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture. The local people are all grateful for their dedication and energetic services throughout the operations. The Japanese media highly praised all of Sri Lankan supports, particularly the outstanding ground work accomplished by the Sri Lankan disaster relief team who had cleared large areas of debris within a short span of time, much to the relief of the residents. His Excellency the then President also organized a special Bodhi Pooja, prayer, at the Temple Trees to invoke blessings upon the victims and their families. On behalf of the government and people of Japan, I wish to renew our heartfelt gratitude to all the people of Sri Lanka for extending their hand of friendship at such a tragic moment.
When Sri Lanka was devastated by the tsunami in 2004, Japan too rushed here with relief assistance comprising rescue teams and emergency medical supply to show our solidarity and sympathy, and continually provided assistance for rehabilitation of tsunami-affected areas for a long period of time. Such is the depth of our friendly relations.
On this occasion, I offer my heartfelt prayers for the eternal repose of the souls who lost their lives in this disaster and pray for peace and tranquility of their bereaved families.
The Government of Japan has decided to provide US$73,982 (approximately Rs. 10.4 million) as a grant aid for the “Project for Improvement of Maternal and Child Health and the Nutritional Environment in Anuradhapura District” under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP).
The Project will be implemented by Plan International Sri Lanka in Padaviya division in Anuradhapura district with the cooperation of the Provincial Department of Health Services in North Central Province. The project aims to construct a Health Clinic with provisions of medical equipment and improve Maternal and Child Health and the Nutritional Environment. This health clinic will also be able to contribute to the prevention of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) through CKDu screening test and awareness sessions. The Government target of CKDu screening test at this health clinic is about 200 people per month with a view to covering the entire population in this MOH area.
Japan provides its assistance to this project under the focus of ‘Mitigating of Vulnerability’ enshrined in the Country Assistance Policy for Sri Lanka. With this grant assistance, the Government of Japan shows its genuine commitment to reduce vulnerability of malnourished women and children and CKDu patients, improve their accessibility to services, education etc. which in turn would result in the empowerment of those vulnerable groups and enable them to becoming active contributors to the development initiatives of Sri Lanka.
Mr. Supriyanto, Country Director of Plan International Sri Lanka expressed his gratitude to the Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka for the generous supports for the construction of the health center. The project will help fulfil the wish of all children and the community in Padaviya to have a healthy start in life particularly in the efforts to reduce the high incidences of malnutrition. Reducing malnutrition of children under 5 is a priority of Plan International’s health programme as this will lead to the achievement of age appropriate development Milestones. A participatory community mobilization mechanism will be introduced where parents and communities would play a critical role in taking control over the health and nutrition of their children.
The Grant Contract was signed between His Excellency Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan and Mr. Supriyanto, Country Director of Plan International Sri Lanka on 8th March 2016 at Embassy of Japan in Colombo.
The Government of Japan has decided to provide US$ 226,312 (approximately 32.6 million) grant for “The Project for Upgrading Waste Collection Trucks in Colombo” under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP).
“The Project for Upgrading Waste Collection Trucks in Colombo” which is to be implemented by Colombo Municipal Council, will help to procure 12 used waste collection trucks and a maintenance training for such vehicles from Japan and will contribute to enhance the clean and hygienic environment in Colombo city and suburbs by providing upgraded waste management services. The 12 waste collection trucks which were handed over to Colombo Municipal Council today were initially donated by several local authorities in Japan (3 from Osaka city, 2 from Chiba city, 2 from Sapporo city, 2 from Okayama city, 1 from Sagamihara city, 1 from Kakamigahara Seiso Co. Ltd., 1 from Mizumaki Bika Center), through the dedicated coordination of the Society for Promotion of Japanese Diplomacy (SPJD), which carries a particular scheme to coordinate donation of second-hand vehicles such as waste collection trucks to foreign countries.
The ‘Recycled GGP’ is one of Japan's ODA schemes dedicated specifically for local government and independent institutions to contribute to rural development and upgrade living standards of communities. So far a total of 800 vehicles have been provided to more than 60 countries under this scheme through the coordination of the Society for Promotion of Japanese Diplomacy to strengthen friendly and cordial relationships between the government of Japan and other partner countries.
His Worship A.J.M Muzammil stated that “Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) is the largest local authority in Sri Lanka. Solid Waste Management is one of the main responsibilities of CMC. A quantity of 700 tons of solid waste is collected per day in the city of Colombo. This consists of residential, commercial and a smaller quantity of industrial waste. Before 1997, CMC had only 31 compactor trucks and a few number of tractors for the solid waste collection. Mechanism used at that time was the collection of solid waste from near road sides. Labourers collect waste from households and other places and pile them up at the temporary collection points at the road edge. Later the trucks came and collected from the collection points. There were about 1250 temporary collection points along road sides at that time. In 1997, Colombo Municipal Council got the assistance of the Government of Japan to improve the Waste Management in the City of Colombo. The City received 55 large compactors trucks, 20 small compactor trucks and other equipment through this grant which undoubtedly helped to improve the waste management in the City. As a result of this, CMC was able to start the house to house collection by following route planning. Many improvements were observed in the city. Due to this the City of Colombo became the best City in South Asia and 21st in the whole of Asia in 1999. The current fleet is aging at present and needs replacement. Although we replaced some trucks with limited resources, it is inadequate. Colombo Municipal Council has requested the Embassy of Japan to provide another grant to replace some vehicles to overcome the present crisis situation.
The Embassy of Japan has agreed to assist in the “Project for upgrading waste collection trucks in Colombo” to improve the Solid Waste Management in Colombo under Japan’s GGP. Under this Grant Assistance, the City of Colombo receives 12 nos. Solid Waste Collection trucks. This project undoubtedly will help to improve the waste management in the City. I express my sincere thanks to H.E. the Ambassador of Japan and the Government of Japan for the assistance extended to Colombo Municipal Council.”
The Grant Contract was signed between His Excellency Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan and His Worship A.J.M Muzammil on 8th March 2016 at Town Hall in Colombo.
The Government of Japan has decided to provide a total sum of US$180,322 (approximately Rs. 26 million) in grant aid for the improvement of education environment in Jaffna District under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP).
The two projects are: “The Project for the Construction of J/ Muthuthamby Maha Vidyalayam School Building in Jaffna District, implemented by J/ Muthuthamby Maha Vidyalayam with a sum of US$ 80,254 (approximately Rs.11.6 million) and “The Project for the Construction of J/St. Theresa’s Girls’ College, Atchuvely School Building in Jaffna District, implemented by J/St. Theresa’s Girls’ College, Atchuvely with a sum of USD100,068 (approximately Rs.14.4 million). These projects aim to construct suitable school buildings in realizing children’s right to receive education in a conducive environment.
Japan provides assistance to this project under the ‘Development of Emerging Regions’ pillar of the Country Assistance Policy for Sri Lanka. The Government of Japan believes that recovery of livelihood and economic growth of the people who live in poverty stricken areas, also need to be complemented by infrastructure rehabilitation. An integrated approach of this nature will pave the way to durable peace and inclusive development in all parts of the country in the long run.
The two Grant Contracts were signed between His Excellency Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan and Mr. Ramalinga Kurkukal Pasupatheeswaran, the principal of J/Muthuthamby MV school and Sr. Maria Jeevanthi, the principal of J/St. Theresa Girls’ College respectively on 2nd March, 2016 in Jaffna.
Commenting on the provision of this grant Mr.Ramalinga Kurkukal Pasupatheeswaran, the principal of J/Muthuthamby MV school stated that “The school J/Muthuthamby MV is situated in Jaffna division of the Zonal Education Office, Jaffna. There are about six hundred and Fifty students studying in this school. Most of the students attending this school are from the “Hindu Children’s Home”. A considerable number of the students staying at this “Hindu Children’s Home” have lost their parents. Moreover, there are twenty students with special needs who study in this school. The main requirements of this school are a classroom complex and a unit for students with special needs. Now, the school has been selected under “Japan’s Grant assistance for grassroots Human Security Projects” and granted with an upgraded classroom complex and a fully equipped unit for students with special needs. The school community is delighted with the grant and is accepting it with much gratitude.”
Sr. Maria Jeevanthi, the principal of J/St. Theresa Girls’ College noted that “J/St. Theresa Girls’ College is the only Girls’ school in Kopay Division, in Jaffna educational zone. The school supports more than one thousand students. Out of these students, there are about one hundred and eighty students who have been victimized by war. They reside in the convent hostel and continue their studies. The most urgent need of this school is the lack of classrooms. Most of the classes are conducted outdoors under the shady trees. Now, the school has been selected under “Japan’s Grant Assistance for grassroots Human Security Projects” and granted with two fully equipped classroom complexes. The school community highly appreciates the grant provided for the renovation of this school.”
The officials at the Zonal Education Office in Jaffna stated, “At this juncture we wish to express our gratitude to the Government of Japan for their kind gesture towards uplifting the learning environment of the students of both schools and to the Government of Sri Lanka for the support in directing us to achieve this Grant assistance.”
The Government of Japan has decided to provide a total sum of US$ 1,238,003 (approximately Rs. 177 million) as grant aid to two organizations for humanitarian demining in Northern Sri Lanka under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP).
The two projects are: “The Project for Demining in the Northern and North Central Provinces of Sri Lanka”, implemented by Delvon Assistance for Social Harmony Sri Lanka (DASH) with a sum of US$ 634,860 (approximately Rs. 90 million) and “The Project for Humanitarian Mine Action in Mannar and Landmine Survey in Northern and Eastern Provinces”, implemented by Mines Advisory Group (MAG) with sum of US$ 603,143 (approximately Rs. 87 million). It is expected that these projects would contribute to expedite the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka to make mine contaminated areas safe lands for people to return and resume their livelihoods.
Japan has been a major donor supporting mine clearance in Sri Lanka to accelerate the return and resettlement of Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) and to facilitate recommencement of agriculture and other livelihood activities of returnees. Since 2003, the Government of Japan has provided a sum of US$ 28 million for demining activities in the North and the East under its Grant Assistance schemes.
The two Grant Contracts were signed between His Excellency Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan and Mr. Ananda Chandrasiri, Programme Manager, DASH and Ms. Bethan Davies, Regional Programme Officer, MAG, respectively, on 1st March 2016 at Embassy of Japan in Colombo.
Commenting on the provision of this grant Mr. Ananda Chandrasiri, Program Manager of DASH noted that “the Government is determined to see that Sri Lanka is mine-impact free by the end of 2020. The Sri Lankan programme has proved to be one of the most successful mine action stories in the world. The generous assistance of our friendly countries, with Japan in the forefront, has been a key factor behind this success. Japan has always been a very close and supportive friend of Sri Lanka. There still is a great demand for demining in the country. Our efforts contribute towards enhancing development and livelihood activities and thereby achieving peace and reconciliation endeavour pursued by the Government. The pursuit of this endeavour call for the provision of livelihood opportunities to the young people who were affected by the conflict. Being the only national demining organization operating in the country, DASH has basically employed needy people from mine-affected areas, focussing on this necessity.”
Ms. Bethan Davies; MAG Regional Programme Officer noted that ‘MAG is honored to be accepting this grant from the Government of Japan, an esteemed donor for Humanitarian Mine Action projects both within Sri Lanka and around the world. In the last two years alone, the partnership between MAG Sri Lanka and the Government of Japan has enabled the removal and destruction of over 4,000 landmines. The removal of these potentially lethal items have helped tens of thousands of people to resettle and rebuild their lives and livelihoods in Mannar District by providing safe land for agriculture, housing, schools and other community infrastructure. Last year MAG was privileged to be asked by the Government of Sri Lanka to expand operations and undertake a systematic survey in the Eastern Province. MAG is looking forward to launching these activities in partnership with the Government of Japan under this project. Funding from the People of Japan will not only continue to save lives but also build futures by supporting livelihood development among some of the most mine-affected communities in the country. With Japanese support, MAG is looking forward to continuing clearance and survey activities in support of the Government of Sri Lanka’s commitment to being mine impact free by 2020.’
January 25, 2016
Government of Japan confers prestigious decoration
on Mr. C. Lal De Alwis
The Government of Japan announced on 3th November 2015, the conferment of “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette”, upon Mr. C. Lal De Alwis, Vice Patron of the Japan Sri Lanka Technical Cultural Association (JASTECA) in recognition of his contribution to disseminating Japanese culture and promoting understanding of Japanese culture.
His Excellency Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan, formally conferred the order upon Mr. C. Lal De Alwis on behalf of His Majesty the Emperor at a special ceremony held on 22nd January, at the Ambassador’s residence in Colombo, in the presence of a distinguished gathering.
Mr. C. Lal De Alwis is one of Sri Lanka’s senior executives in the private sector. Mr. C. Lal De Alwis played a pioneering role together with the late Mr. Ian Dias Abeysinghe in establishing the Sri Lanka alumni of Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship (AOTS) and Asia Bunka Kaikan Dousoukai known as the Asia Cultural Association in 1965 for the purpose of channeling technical training opportunities for Sri Lankans. In February 1984, Mr. C. Lal De Alwis together with Mr. Ian Dias Abeysinghe and assisted by four others established the JASTECA. In 1993, he was elected as President of the JASTECA for four years respectively. In 1989, he was unanimously elected to chair the World Convention of AOTS Alumni Societies held in Yokohama, Japan. On his initiative as the Chairman of the World Convention of AOTS an independent fund known as the World Network of Friendship was established to assist developing countries. He is currently the Vice Patron of JASTECA. He was also instrumental in securing the assistance of the Asian Fight Oral Cancer organization based in Tokyo headed by Professor Kanichi Seto to fight against oral cancer among Sri Lankans resulting in the cure of over 250 victims.
Mr. C. Lal De Alwis also followed two training programmes organized in Japan by the Asian Productivity Organization and was able to transfer this technology to many private sector companies and government organizations through seminars conducted by JASTECA. In 1983, he also followed the AOTS Programme for Cross-Cultural Management in Japan and was instrumental in introducing the 5S management practices for the first time in Sri Lanka. Since then, JASTECA has organized seminars, workshops and also conducts an annual award scheme known as the Taiki Akimoto 5S awards and Kaizen Awards which have grown in popularity among many organizations and industries in Sri Lanka. Accordingly, Mr. C. Lal De Alwis has played a key role in promoting JASTECA activities for the last 30 years resulting in the Association being graded as one of the best AOTS Alumni Societies in the world by AOTS.
Japan-Sri Lanka Policy Dialogue and Maritime Dialogue
The Japan-Sri Lanka Policy Dialogue and Maritime Dialogue were held in Colombo last week. These meetings were organized as a follow up to the visit of Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka to Japan in October 2015.
The Policy Dialogue was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka on 12 January. It was co-chaired by Mr. Kazuya Nashida, Director-General of the Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and Mr. O. L. Ameer Ajwad, Director General of the East Asia & Pacific Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka. Officials representing relevant ministries and agencies of both countries also participated in the meeting. They discussed promotion of investment and trade, cooperation on the National Development Plan in Sri Lanka, and national reconciliation and peacebuilding in Sri Lanka, which were emphasized in the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership issued during the visit by the Hon. Prime Minister to Japan. In addition, they briefed each other on their security policies and exchanged views on the regional situation and global challenges. As an outcome of the meeting, the two sides decided to hold an Economic Cooperation Policy Dialogue in February and an Economic Policy Dialogue in the middle of this year to further promote cooperation in the fields of development, trade and investment.
Dialogue on Maritime Security, Safety and Oceanic Issues at Defense Ministry
The Dialogue on Maritime Security, Safety and Oceanic Issues was held at the Ministry of Defence of Sri Lanka on 13 January. It was co-chaired by Mr. Takashi Ariyoshi, Director, Southwest Asia Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and Mr. S. Hettiarachchi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Defence of Sri Lanka. Officials representing relevant ministries, armed forces and coast guards of the both sides also participated in the meeting. They exchanged views on the situation in the Indo Pacific Ocean Region, reviewed bilateral and regional cooperation and explored ways for further cooperation. In his opening remarks, Eng. Karunasena Hettiarachchi, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence of Sri Lanka emphasized the vital importance of cooperation on maritime security and safety between the two countries. H.E. Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka said that securing the freedom of navigation and safety of sea routes is a major concern for Japan and added that Japan wishes to see the establishment of an open and stable ocean where the rule of law dominates.
Taking this opportunity, the Embassy of Japan would like to express its deep gratitude for the generous hospitality extended by the Government of Sri Lanka in hosting the two important meetings.