Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary Defence and Urban Development
calls on Mr. Mitsu Shimojo, Vice Minister of Defence
The Secretary of Defence and Urban Development, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was invited as a Guest of the Government of Japan in order to interact with the key Political Leaders, Senior Technocrats and Cabinet Ministers. Secretary Mr. Rajapaksa, on the day before he left to Colombo, met Minister Hirofumi Hirano, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports , Science & Technology; Vice Minister of Defence, Mr. Mitsu Shimojo; Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Mr. Kyoichi Tsushima; and Advisor to the President of Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA] Mr. Oshima Kenzo respectively. During his visit, he also met several political dignitaries including that of the former Prime Minister of Japan and the current Minister of Foreign Affairs among others.
Most of the dignitaries expressed their appreciation for assistance and cooperation extended by Sri Lanka at the Earthquake and Tsunami, when it struck Japan last year. The dignitaries impressed the fact that both the countries have cordial and congenial relations. Also, this year the two countries would be commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of the Diplomatic Relations. The economic, commercial, trade and investment advancement of the country are visible and tangible, thus the country being on an economic trajectory. Secretary Rajapaksa thanked the dignitaries of the assistance and cooperation extended to Sri Lanka, over the years, for her advancement and progress. Further, Secretary Mr. Rajapaksa placed on record that Japan had assisted and cooperated with Sri Lanka in myriad international forums, conferences and symposiums.
During his call with the Vice Minister of Defence, Mr. Mitsu Shimojo, Secretary, Mr. Rajapaksa and the Vice Minister of Defence discussed issues relating to Japan Self Defence Force [JSDF] and the manner in which they address crisis situations, the role of Japan and Sri Lanka in Peace Keeping Operations [PKO] and the security situation of Sri Lanka after the elimination of terrorism in 2009, among others. The Vice Minister of Defence of Japan expressed his appreciation to Secretary Mr. Rajapaksa for assisting vessels of Japan from piracy in the Indian Ocean. Secretary Mr. Rajapaksa also highlighted the importance of the Indian Ocean Maritime Security. He further stated that the Government of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Defence, in particular, consider that it is the responsibility of Sri Lanka to protect and assist commercial vessels and to ensure their safety in the Maritime Region of Sri Lanka. On a different note, the Vice Minister of Defence stated that Sri Lanka could cooperate with Self Defence Force and Naval Vessels of Japan and of Sri Lanka, thus deepening the relations as well as being able to benefit and learn from each other. Secretary Mr. Rajapaksa highlighted the establishment of the full-fledged Defence College in Sri Lanka and requested Japanese Defence Officials also to participate in the programmes in this College. Also, he invited Senior Military Personnel and Defence Experts from Japan to attend the Third International Seminar on Defence, which would be held this year.
Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa holds discussion with
Mr.Kyoichi Tsushima, Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism at the Ministry.
Secretary Mr. Rajapaksa discussed issues of relevance and importance with the Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism at his Ministry. Since the Urban Development and the Coast Guard both come under the purview of this Ministry, Secretary Mr. Rajapaksa and his delegation were extended a comprehensive briefing and presentation on Coast Guard and Urban Development. Secretary Mr. Rajapaksa stated that after the end of the conflict the people are moving from rural to urban cities. This paradigm change leads to a number of compelling challenges such as housing, transportation, traffic and other associated issues as health and education among others. The Vice Minister stated that Japan developed and enhanced urban development in a meticulously planned manner, thus complementing the economic growth and progress. He stated that the experience of urban development planning of Japan could be of assistance and of benefit to Sri Lanka, since Japan is prepared to share with Sri Lanka. With regard to Coast Guard, the Vice Minister accentuated the fact that maritime lanes of Sri Lanka are very important both regionally and globally. The Coast Guard of Japan is very well established and was established in 1948. The Vice Minister added that since the Coast Guard of Sri Lanka was established only two years ago, the Japan Coast Guard could extend assistance and cooperation in order to make it more efficacious, which is of interest to many a country.
Hon.Hirufomi Hirano Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology and President of Japan-Sri Lanka Parliamentarian League at a dinner reception with Mr.Gotabaya Rajapaksa
Minister Hirofumi Hirano, who holds the portfolio of Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology is also the President of Japan-Sri Lanka Friendship Parliamentarian League. Minister Hirano and his delegation hosted a Dinner Reception to Secretary Mr. Rajapaksa and his delegation. Both the dignitaries discussed of the economic and commercial advancement of Sri Lanka, the new opportunities and vistas particularly unfolded in the North and East after the conflict, post conflict challenges in all aspects, the status of education and the strategies to enhance the base of education in Sri Lanka with the assistance of Japan and the potential of tourism sector among others. Minister Hirano also expressed gratitude to Secretary Mr. Rajapaksa for strengthening and deepening the bilateral relations between the two countries. The two delegations discussed the possibilities of entering into MoUs, academic arrangements and affiliations between the noted Universities and Colleges in Japan and in Sri Lanka.
Mr. Oshima Kenzo, Advisor to the President and former Vice President of JICA expressed satisfaction of the manner in which funds and grants have been expended by the Government of Sri Lanka in order to advance the economy. The two dignitaries discussed issues relating to Nuclear Power Plants and generation of power, Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant which was affected by tsunami of last year, the transportation dynamics and plans to enhance the efficacy of transportation in the city of Colombo, mapping out of plans to construct a mass transit system in Colombo and controlling of floods in Colombo by addressing in particular the Beira Lake and efforts to enhance the dwellings of over 70,000 families in the city, which is a very ambitious and a mega project. Secretary Mr. Rajapaksa impressed the fact of the vitality of having a Mass Transport System in Colombo, similar to many other cities in the world. Mr. Kenzo and his delegation from JICA were receptive of this proposition.
The meetings and calls were constructive, productive and fruitful, thus strengthened and bolstered the relations between Japan and Sri Lanka. Secretary Defence and Urban Development, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was accompanied by H.E. the Ambassador, Admiral (Rtd.) Wasantha Karannagoda and the Deputy Chief of Mission, Dr. Saj Mendis.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
30th March 2012