No truth in ‘preparations’ made to hold consultations – Japanese Foreign Minister

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Japan said that they have had various exchanges with the Sri Lankan Government, but no preparations have been made with regard to holding consultations on debt restructuring.

At a  media brief held in Japan on 30 August, the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Hayashi Yoshimasa was asked whether the Japanese Government is holding discussions on debt restructuring by bringing together creditor nations such as China and India as stated by the President of Sri Lanka to which the Foreign Minister responded that Japan is currently providing medicine and food aid to the country and have had  various exchanges with the Sri Lankan  government, but no preparations are being made with Sri Lanka on holding consultations on debt restructuring.

Japan is paying close attention to the severe economic situation in Sri Lanka and in response to the worsening humanitarian situation in the country, we are currently providing humanitarian assistance such as medicine and food, the Foreign Minister added.

“In the future, we believe that it is important for the Sri Lankan Government to work with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Paris Club to improve the country’s economic and financial situation while ensuring transparency,” he added.

He further noted that Japan intends to further consider how to respond to this situation while keeping a close eye on such trends and the situation in the island, while consulting with the Sri Lankan Government, donors and international organisations.

As a condition for a bailout, the IMF insisted that the Sri Lankan Government restructure its debt repayment to donor countries including Japan, China, and India among many others.

Japan is one of the countries that are pushing Sri Lanka to obtain the IMF loan along with India and the US.

In an effort to resolve Sri Lanka’s debt crisis, President Ranil Wickremesinghe declared earlier in August that he would pursue Japan to host an all creditors’ conference. He stated that he would speak with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo about the matter during his tour to Japan this month.

In May, the Government of Japan provided Emergency Grant Aid of USD 3 million to Sri Lanka. Also, the first tranche of food assistance pledged by the Japanese Government earlier this year was provided through the United Nations World Food Programme to Sri Lanka.

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan