Oct 01, Colombo: During the last two and half years following the end of the war Sri Lanka has improved tremendously in terms of security and development, the Ambassador of Japan in Colombo Kunio Takahashi has observed.
Reiterating that his government will maintain a mutual supportive relationship with Sri Lanka, the Ambassador has said that however, he believes the efforts of the Government and the people of Sri Lanka toward reconciliation and reconstruction should be continued.
Mr. Kunio has made these remarks at a signing ceremony to grant US$ 780,000 (approximately Rs. 85 million) for the demining activities in Northern Sri Lanka through Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) to expedite the Sri Lankan government’s efforts to clear the heavily-mined areas in the North.
The Japanese Ambassador and the Country Programme Manager of FSD, Nigel Robinson signed Grant Contract on Friday (September 30) at the Embassy of Japan in Colombo.
“Through this demining project, it is envisaged that more than 5,000 people in Vavuniya and Mannar Districts would gain access to safe lands and resume their livelihood activities,” the Japanese Embassy said in a statement.
The project will also simultaneously contribute to providing employment opportunities to more than 100 residents in the area.
Japan has been a major donor supporting mine clearance in Sri Lanka to accelerate the return and resettlement of Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) and to facilitate recommencement of agriculture and other livelihood activities of returnees.
Since 2003, Japan has provided US$ 21.5 million for demining activities in the North and the East under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).
Japan has also extended assistance for development in the North for projects, such as improvement of central facilities of Jaffna Teaching Hospital, construction of Vavuniya-Kilinochchi Transmission Line, and urgent rehabilitation of resettled communities in Jaffna and Mannar districts.
“Japan hopes that these assistances would holistically contribute to sustainable peace and development in Sri Lanka and promote the livelihood of the people,” the Embassy said.