Sri Lanka promotes Ceylon Gourd (Pathola) among Japanese nationals

A gala ceremony was held in the Fuso City of Nagoya in order to promote and to educate the benefits and utility of Ceylon Gourd, known popularly as Pathola. Over 300 participants attended the said ceremony and the Charge d’ Affaires of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Tokyo, Dr. A. Saj U. Mendis, delivered the keynote address as the Chief Guest.

Professor Ananda Kumara, Senior Professor at Meijo University in Nagoya and at Tokyo Institute of Technology was instrumental and pivotal in proposing and researching the benefits and utility of Ceylon Gourd as well as to educate the Japanese nationals in the Prefectures of Achie and Mie as well as in the City of Nagoya. A number of Japanese nationals, today, consume Ceylon Gourd in their regular meals, thus extending publicity to Sri Lanka.

The ceremony was attended by the Mayor, Office of the Honorary Consul General of Sri Lanka in Nagoya, political personalities of the Prefecture, Senior Officials of the City, Faculty Members of Meijo University and a number of officials from nonprofit organizations, among others. This project of Ceylon Gourd was proposed only five years ago to the nationals of Japan and, today, it is well known and is publicized in trains, stations and on billboards, among others. The Ceylon Gourd (Pathola) is now cultivated in Japan and has emerged as a popular and much liked vegetable.

During the keynote address of Dr. Mendis, Charge d’ Affaires of the embassy, he underscored the congenial and cordial bilateral relations between Japan and Sri Lanka. He further added that the two countries established formal diplomatic relations in 1952 but informal relations existed as far back as in the 19th century. He further added that since 1954, Japan has extended assistance and cooperation to Sri Lanka through Overseas Development Assistance and soft grants and loans in order to develop and advance the economy of Sri Lanka, in all spheres. Dr. Mendis stated that, during the last couple of years, the relations between the two countries were further strengthened, deepened and elevated to an unprecedented scale, culminating with the historic visit of the Prime Minister of Japan to Sri Lanka in September of last year, after a lapse of two decades. The Charge d’ Affairs, Dr. Mendis, also highlighted that the most opportune time is now to commit investments, establish manufacturing and outsourcing facilities and to be engaged commercially with Sri Lanka given the overall economic, social and political profile of the country. In this context, he underlined that the Noritake Company, which was present in the audience as well as the Head Office is based in Nagoya, committed one of the first foreign direct investments, over four decades ago, in 1972 in Sri Lanka. Today, the products of Noritake have become a household name in the region and are much sought after.

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