Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi concluded his visit to Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he met with his counterpart, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry.
During the bilateral meeting, Sabry invited Japan to resume investing in various projects related to power, roads, and ports.
The island nation, facing a severe financial crisis, sought Japanese investments in crucial sectors like power, infrastructure, dedicated investment zones, and green and digital economies.
Sri Lanka has been working towards restructuring its substantial debt in the wake of its worst financial crisis in over seven decades.
This financial turmoil led to a default and the resignation of the country’s president.
However, Sabry expressed confidence in Sri Lanka’s economic recovery, believing it would pave the way for a stronger Japan-Sri Lanka relationship.
Minister Hayashi was on a diplomatic tour covering several countries, including India, South Africa, Uganda, Ethiopia, and the Maldives.
In Colombo, he conveyed his expectations for further progress in the debt restructuring process, emphasizing the importance of transparency and the involvement of all creditor countries.
Japan’s relations with Sri Lanka had cooled in the past after the suspension of a $2 billion light railway project in 2020.
However, ties have improved recently, especially after President Ranil Wickremesinghe requested Japan’s assistance in weathering the crisis caused by economic mismanagement, tax cuts, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The strategic location of Sri Lanka along major shipping routes in the Indian Ocean has made it a focal point of influence for countries like India and Japan on one side and China on the other.
Japan is the country’s most significant bilateral lender after China, with outstanding loans amounting to approximately $2.7 billion, while India is the third major creditor.