In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Japan, the Foreign Ministry and Embassy of Japan jointly organized a press conference at Sasakawa Center on 19th January 2022.
Foreign Minister Prof. G.L Peiris, Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage and Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka MIZUKOSHI Hideaki, as well as other senior Government officials participated in the press conference, including Mr. Mohan Samaranayake, Director-General of the Department of Government Information, Mr. Sonala Gunawardana, Chairman, Rupavahini Corporation, Mr. Damitha Wickramasinghe, Director General, National Youth Services Council, and Prof. S.D. Jayaratne, Chairman, Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital.
Prior to the joint press conference, a stakeholders’ meeting was held to exchange views on a variety of commemorative events to be organized in the year 2022, and on the Action Plan, entailing an outreach programme to the general public to celebrate this significant milestone in the diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Japan. In this context, four (04) regional programmes in Hambantota, Kegalle, Jaffna and Batticaloa will be organized, highlighting Japanese and Sri Lanka socio-cultural affinities. The Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and the National Youth Services Council will take the initiative to organize island wide Essay (Sinhala, Tamil and English), painting and short video competitions for school students. These activities will demonstrate the historical connections between the two countries, as well as the growing bilateral relationship over the years.
Foreign Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, in his remarks, stated that as a time tested friend of Sri Lanka, Japan has always extended assistance which fits the requirements of Sri Lanka. Prof. Peiris further mentioned that the two sides have made considerable progress, especially in the last few years in enhancing the bilateral engagement in a number of areas, including political, economic and people-to-people ties and looked forward to working with the Japanese government to further deepen and strengthen the vibrant development partnership and take it to even greater heights in the years to come.
Ambassador MIZUKOSHI Hideaki, at the media briefing, referred to a New Year’s Day message by the Japanese Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa, and said that “Japan will always remember that the former President J.R. Jayewardene kindly offered support for Japan’s post-war return to the international community, or that Sri Lanka extended warm assistance to Japan in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.” Ambassador MIZUKOSHI also renewed his commitment to “further strengthen our bonds of friendship, while expediting people-to-people exchange, to explore our greater potentials that remain unleashed.”
Delivering the closing remarks, Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage stated that this is the first time in recorded history, that the Foreign Ministry in collaboration with a Colombo based diplomatic mission is undertaking an outreach programme focused on the local community in rural areas to commemorate such milestone event. The Foreign Secretary further mentioned that the two countries are united by mutual understanding and shared values over the past seventy years; these fundamental values have formed the bedrock of an increasingly close relationship and both countries will remain engaged in discussions on commemorating this historic anniversary in a manner truly reflective of its significance and the common aspirations of the two peoples.