Ranil networks on enhanced science and technological  collaboration with Japan

by Zacki Jabbar in Osaka

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe arrived here last afternoon on a five day official visit and began networking on enhanced collaboration in science and technology between the two countries.

Wickremesinghe, who is also Minister of Policy Planning and  Economic Development,  served as Minister of Industries, Science and Technology in the Premadasa  Government  of 1989 to May 1993.

The  Prime Minister’s delegation which included his wife, Maithree, and Minister of Science, Technology and Research , Susil Premajayanth  arrived on Cathay Pacific Airways at the Kansai International Airport located  on  Honshu Island in the middle of Osaka Bay.

Among those present to receive them were Ambassador for the Kansai region, Miya Akira, Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Kenichi Suganuma and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Japan Ganganath Dissanayake.

After a ceremonial welcome, the Prime Minister was whisked away to a reception by the Science and Technology in Society (STS) Forum at the Grand Prince Hotel in Kyoto, where he began networking on enhanced collaboration between the two countries on the latest trends in Science and Technology.

He is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the opening Plenary Session of the STS Forum today. This would be preceded by a breakfast meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and bilateral talks at the Kyoto International Conference Center.Later in the day, Wickremesinghe would be attending a cultural event jointly  organized by the Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto City and Kyoto Chamber of Commerce and Industry and also speak on the occasion.

 His programme also includes a  visit to the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Thereafter he would be leaving for Tokyo by Shinkansen "Nozomi 238" high speed train.

Informed sources said that the Prime Minister may address the Japanese Parliament.

Charge d’affaires  in Japan and interim ambassador deignate to Baharain,  Saj Mendis  said that Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake was scheduled to arrive in Tokyo on October 5 and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera the following day to join the ongoing discussions.

Japan’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Kenichi Suganuma said that his country would  extend maximum support  to implementing the  economic policies of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe National Government.

Talks with regard to developing bilateral tourism ties were also continuing, he revealed.

Recently the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Finance Ministry signed an agreement to further improve the Academy of Financial Studies in Sri Lanka.

Kyoto  has a population close to 1.5 million people. Formerly the Imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture located in the Kansai region, as well as a major part of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area. Kyoto is also known as the City of Ten Thousand Shrines.

Osaka is a designated city in the Kansai region. It is the capital of Osaka Prefecture and the largest component of the Keihanshin Metropolitan Area, the second biggest metropolitan area in Japan and among the largest in the world with over 19 million inhabitants. Situated at the mouth of the Yodo River on Osaka Bay, Osaka is Japan’s third largest city by the daytime population after Tokyo’s 23 wards and Yokohama. It serves as a major economic hub.

Historically a merchant city, Osaka has also been known as the nation’s kitchen and served as a center for the rice trade during the Edo period.

Diplomatic relations between Japan and Sri Lanka was established in 1952, four years after Sri Lanka gained independence from the United Kingdom. In 2012, the 60th anniversary of these relations was celebrated with the issuance of a commemorative coin.

Apart from bilateral linkages, the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) which comprises Bhutan, India, Nepal, Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, wants to boost trade with Japan.

The agreement for a Japanese loan of 24.93 billion yen and a grant project worth 0.5 billion yen for Sri Lanka to establish a National Transmission and National Distribution Network Development and Efficiency Improvement was signed during Foreign Minister Samaraweera’s visit to Tokyo last June. .


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