President to hold talks with Japanese leaders today
President Mahinda Rajapaksa is due to meet Japanese Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda and Emperor Akihito here in Tokyo today.
President Rajapaksa will have a tight schedule on Monday, starting
with an official meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura
at the Imperial Hotel before heading to the Imperial Palace in the
The historic meeting between President Rajapaksa and Emperor Akihito
will be held at 11.40 a.m. local time (8.10 a.m. SL time). The Japanese
Emperor will also host a special luncheon reception to the touring
Presidential party at Imperial Palace.
The official Imperial Palace the Akasaka Palace, is in the Moto
Akasaka area of the capital Tokyo. The guest house took on its present
function in 1974, having previously been a detached palace.
Architect Katayama Tokuma designed the neo-Baroque structure as a
residence for the Crown Prince.
Later on Monday evening, President Rajapaksa will meet Prime Minister
Fukuda at the Prime Ministerís Office. After a special discussion on
bilateral issues, they will issue a joint press statement. Prime
Minister Fukuda will also host a special banquet in honour of the
visiting Lankan President.
The Presidentís official visit would further strengthen Sri
Lanka-Japan ties. Japan has made a significant contribution towards
development activities in Sri Lanka in various sectors.
Sri Lanka has been the largest per capita recipient of Japanís
bilateral aid. Along with economic co-operation, Japan has been
providing cultural aid to Sri Lanka since 1979.
Japanese co-operation programmes with Sri Lanka commenced way back in
President Rajapaksa is the fourth Sri Lankan executive President to
make a State visit to Japan after Presidents J. R. Jayewardene (1979),
R. Premadasa (1985) and Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (1996).
Sri Lankaís former Prime Ministers Sir John Kotelawala (1954), Dudley
Senanayake (1967) and Sirimavo Bandaranaike (1976) too had made official
visits to Japan.