Sri Lanka’s president Ranil Wickremesinghe is in Japan today, as he attended the second international state funeral since he took office earlier this year and also engaged in discussions with senior Japanese officials.
Wickremesinghe attended the funeral of the former prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, who was shot dead whilst giving a speech in the city of Nara in July. He was accompanied by his Chief-Of-Staff Sagala Ratnayake at the funeral, which was attended by several other leading figures from around the world.
Earlier this month, Wickremesinghe attended the funeral of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II in London.
Whilst in Tokyo, Japan's Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi met with Wickremesinghe and reportedly welcomed Sri Lanka's progress with the IMF. He also reportedly expressed his country's willingness to take a leading role in Sri Lanka's creditor talks and to explore future investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.
Japan holds around $3.5 billion of Sri Lanka's total bilateral debt of about $10 billion, amounting to 4.4% of the island's GDP, Reuters reports.
In return, Wickremesinghe reportedly “expressed regret over the breakdown of relations between Japan and Sri Lanka following the cancellation of several investment projects by the former Government”.
Wickremesinghe was reportedly “keen to restart those projects”.
In addition, the Sri Lankan president "appreciated the support extended by Japan on the international stage, and expressed the Government's willingness to support both Japan's and India's campaign to become permanent members of the United Nations Security Council”.