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Japan plays major role in Lanka’s development - President

President Maithripala Sirisena inspecting the Guard of Honour at the official welcome ceremony held at the Japanese Prime Minister’s Office yesterday. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also in the picture. Picture by Sudath Silva

President Maithripala Sirisena noted that his State visit in Japan paved the way for strengthening bilateral ties.

He addaed that both leaders were able to discuss matters of mutual interest from bilateral relations to economic and technical cooperation, as well as regional issues.

The President was speaking after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Prime Minister’s office in Tokyo last evening.

Speaking at a joint media briefing, President Sirisena said that Sri Lanka established diplomatic relations with Japan in 1952, immediately after signing the historical San Francisco Peace Treaty Thereafter, Sri Lanka and Japan became long-standing friends.

President Sirisena added that Sri Lanka and Japan are custodians of ancient civilisations and vibrant democracies.

The President noted that with the friendly assistance and cooperation of Japan, Sri Lanka is developing into a knowledge based,skills supported and technology driven society through several initiatives taken by the government, such as, the Digital Sri Lanka Project.

“With the strength of our friendship and mutual trust, I invite more Japanese people and Japanese companies to visit and invest in the county,” the President added.

The President further noted that both leaders were able to discuss matters of mutual interest from bilateral political relations to economic and technical cooperation, as well as regional issues. President Sirisena added that both countries agreed for close cooperation on global issues.

According to him, he believes that the deliberation assisted to further strengthen the existing partnership for the benefit of the two countries.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the historic statement of late President J. R. Jayewardene at the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951 can never be forgotten when considering the friendly ties between the two countries.

“President J. R. Jayewardene’s name will always have a special place in the hearts of the Japanese people,” the Japanese Prime Minister said.

“Both countries have potentials to reach the higher position in the maritime sector and to become advanced nations since our countries are surrounded by the sea. Sri Lanka and Japan should go hand in hand by strengthening the Indo-Pacific and global cooperation to provide peace and prosperity of the two nations,” the Japanese Premier said.

Prime Minister Abe added that he held very productive talks with President Sirisena on how to strengthen future cooperation.

“Sri Lanka is the hub of the Indian Ocean and hence the further strengthening of the connectivity will directly lead to the prosperity of the whole region, including Sri Lanka,” the Japanese Prime Minister said.

“In particular we agreed to further strengthen cooperation through quality infrastructure building meeting with international standards in areas such as the Colombo Port and other ports, highways and energy sectors. Secondly, we focused on cooperation in the maritime sector,” Prime Minister Abe said.

“President Sirisena and I agreed to further promote cooperation and assistance in capacity building for maritime law enforcement and enhancing and advancing defense exchanges,” the Japanese Prime Minister said.

“On the question of North Korea, we had a frank exchange of views through lessons learnt and continue to apply maximum pressure in order to realise the abandonment of nuclear programmes,” Prime Minister Abe added.

“Today’s summit will add momentum for our two nations to boost cooperation and work closely to address bilateral regional and global challenges,” Prime Minister Abe said.