Japanese investor ‘Tuna King’ to invest in Sri Lanka
Japanese investors are ready to invest in various industries in Sri
Lanka including fisheries. The Japanese, international trade giant ‘Tuna
King’ Kiyoshi Kimura will arrive in Sri Lanka shortly to study the
feasibility of investing in Sri Lanka, Consul General of Sri Lanka in
Japan Medagama Gamage Sunil said during an exclusive interview with the
Q:What is meant by Japan-Sri Lanka Friendship, Cultural and
Business Forum (JSFCBF)?
The JSFCBF is a business centre, coordinating business and trade
activities between Sri Lanka and Japan.
A: The JSFCBF has development plans to benefit Japanese and
Sri Lankan investors.
Medagama Gamage Sunil, Consul General
of Sri Lanka in Japan
JSFCBF creates awareness among Japanese about Sri Lanka. For
instance, certain Japanese still think there is conflict in Sri Lanka.
The Forum has a responsibility to clear these doubts and fears. The
JSFCBF is responsible to give clear guidelines to Japanese investors
about the peaceful situation prevailing in the country after the
elimination of the LTTE.
A large number of foreign investors can be attracted only through
awareness among investors in Japan about the favourable atmosphere,
infrastructure facilities and resources available in Sri Lanka.
Awareness should be created among investors and the benefits they gain
through investing in Sri Lanka. Investors should be told what facilities
are available in Sri Lanka in comparison to other countries. Without
depending on theory, it should be shown practically. The JSFCBF is doing
this job to perfection. It has decided to hold workshops and awareness
campaigns among the business community to boost Sri Lanka’s image.
The Japanese who visit Sri Lanka can be divided into two groups,
holiday makers and investors. Tourists should be taught about the beauty
of beaches, sacred places and world heritage in Sri Lanka. Then only Sri
Lanka tourism can be promoted, Some tourists visit Sri Lanka for
commercial purposes. They should be accompanied to the BOI, Fisheries
Ministry, Economic Development Ministry as well as other prominent
business institutions. Then commercial tourism can be improved.There are
people in Japan who are not fluent in English. They face communication
issues. We maintain a staff that is fluent in the Japanese language.
When required they will provide interpretation service to them.
Q: What is your main role being the Consul General of Ibaraki,
A: My office renders a significant service launching,
strengthening and expanding business, political, cultural and economic
relations between Sri Lanka and Japan. The Consul General’s office also
provides assistance to the projects implemented by the Embassy in Tokyo.
The Consul General’s office maintains close links with Sri Lankan
expatriates in Japan and takes part in national, cultural, religious and
political events organised by those people.
Ibaraki is situated nearly 64 kilometres away from Tokyo. The office
is in Ibaraki the sub administrative body of the Embassy in Japan. This
office normally solves the problems of expatriate Sri Lankans residing
away from the capital city.
As the Embassy is unable to deal with everyone, the Consul General’s
office make the job of the Embassy easy. This office also looks after
the well-being of Sri Lankan expatriates in Japan.
Q: What was the purpose of the recent tour of Fisheries and
Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne to Japan?
A: The Minister’s tour to Japan was scheduled so that he could
participate in the annual convention of JSFCBF, it focused attention to
hold discussions with Japanese investors and the business community to
obtain assistance to improve the fisheries industry in Sri Lanka.
Since its inception in 2011, the JSFCBF plays a significant role in
attracting Japanese investors and improving bilateral trade relations
between the two countries. It plays the role of middleman between Japan
and Sri Lanka.
Q: Why did you invite Fisheries Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne
A: Dr. Senaratne maintains a good relationship with the
international community and he is a good orator. On these grounds I
invited him to be chief guest at the annual convention of JSFCBF.
The Minister told the Japanese about the long lasting relationship
between Sri Lanka and Japan from the era of the late President J.R.
Jayewardene to President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an attractive manner.
Q: Can you tell in brief about the relationship between Sri
Lanka and Japan?
A: The cultural, religious and political relationship between
Japan and Sri Lanka is several decades old. Both countries are following
the Buddhism. Similar traditions are found in these two countries. The
language is the only barrier but it has no impact on the relationship
between the two countries. Both countries are rich in humanity and
sharing the grievances of others.
Q: Can you explain about the assistance we received from time
A: Japanese loan assistance accounts for 60 percent of the
entire global loan assistance to Sri Lanka. As a result of the
long-lasting mutual relationship, Japan provides such a great amount of
assistance to help ongoing development projects. The Sri Jayawardenepura
hospital was donated by the Japanese Government in gratitude for raising
a voice at the San Fransisco Convention supporting Japan. While other
countries observed in silence the late President J.R. Jayewardene spoke
on behalf of Japan.
The Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and the Kelaniya Bridge were
also donated by the Japanese Government.
Since then, the Japanese Government provides technical and various
other grants to improve the education sector. The assistance to improve
the fisheries industry should not be forgotten. The Japanese Government
is continuing its help to Sri Lanka. The Japanese Government granted
financial, technical and other assistance to redevelop the conflict
affected Northern and the Eastern provinces.
Q: What kind of assistance has been granted to Sri Lanka?
A: When I was engaged in discussions with the Japanese
Education and Higher Education Minister Hirano, I told him that in
comparison to the assistance given by the Japanese we have done nothing.
The Japanese Education Minister said that Sri Lanka donated
invaluable eyes to provide vision to thousands of blind people in Japan.
Our technical assistance to Sri Lanka is nothing in comparison to the
eye donation from Sri Lanka. Ours was mere assistance but you have given
a part of your body.
That cannot be measured in monitory terms. The Japanese recall this
assistance, the Consul General said quoting the Japanese Education and
Higher Education Minister Hirano.During the recent tsunami in Japan, Sri
Lankan expatriates extended a helping hand to the affected people. The
Consul General’s office in Ibaraki and the Sri Lankan Ambassador for
Japan provided assistance to the displaced. Sri Lankan rice and curry
was given to over 10,000 displaced people. Nearly 2,000 people were
housed in welfare camps. There was no water, electricity and other
facilities. We raised funds for them. The Japanese Government
appreciated our assistance. National television of NHK also spoke of the
Sri Lankan assistance on its daily news bulletin.Japan has enough wealth
to cater to their people. But at a critical time we extended our help to
Q: What was the response we received from Japan following the
tour of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr. Rajitha
Senaratne to Japan?
A: At the end of tour he came to know what a great job the
Minister had done. No sooner he arrived in Japan, he met the ‘Tuna King’
and held a two-hour discussion with him. Following the discussions the
‘Tuna King’ has agreed to invest in Sri Lanka in the fisheries industry
and to provide necessary technical assistance to improve the industry.