Sri Lanka is currently facing a severe economic crisis and apart from discussions with the IMF has been seeking assistance from a few countries over the past few weeks. Japan is also one such country, who has helped Sri Lanka in many occasstions in the past as well.
In this backdrop, we noticed viral posts on social media, quoting a newspaper report, which said that the Japanese Ambassador had said that Japan had decided not to help Sri Lanka at this current point of time.
Let’s have a look at the viral claims first.
Social Media Posts
An extract from a Daily Mirror Newspaper report titled “Japan will not help Sri Lanka now” was shared widely on social media circles as seen below.
The article, seen below stated that “Japanese Ambassador in Colombo Mizukoshi Hideaki who met the TNA yesterday had reportedly said that there is a risk of financial assistance to Sri Lanka being mismanaged and hence Japan will not support the country at this point. However, he has said Japan might consider it later”
The news item was published on the front page of the Daily Mirror newspaper, July 1st edition, as seen below.
We decided to find out the facts regarding these viral claims
To get clarification on the viral social media posts, we contacted the Japanese Embassy in Colombo. The embassy official stated that the posts are misleading and that the official Facebook page of the embassy would post a clarification regarding the same.
Issuing a clarification to the viral media reports regarding Japan’s position on the economic situation in Sri Lanka, the Japanese Embassy in Colombo had stated the following.
“We would like to clarify some of the incorrect and misleading information contained in recent news articles regarding Japan’s position on the economic situation in Sri Lanka.
Japan is closely paying attention to the current difficult economic situation in Sri Lanka and severe humanitarian situation accompanied.
Considering such situation, the Government of Japan has decided to provide Emergency Grant Aid of USD three (3) million through UNICEF and WFP in order to provide medicine and food in a manner that would directly benefit the Sri Lankan people. Japan sincerely hopes that this assistance will be of help to overcoming the hardship faced by the people of Sri Lanka, Japan’s long-standing friends.
The Government of Japan would like to consider its further contribution to Sri Lanka in consultation with the Government of Sri Lanka and other developing partners, while giving attention to the situation of Sri Lanka and the negotiation progress between Sri Lanka and IMF.
Japan, time-tested partner in Sri Lanka’s socio-economic development, has been supporting Sri Lanka and will continue to do its part in combining its efforts with the people and Government of Sri Lanka.”
We also noticed that apart from the Emergency Grant Aid of USD three (3) million the Japanese government has decided to Sri Lanka through UNICEF and WFP, as mentioned in the above statement, Japan had decided on extending US$ 0.7 million for Humanitarian Demining in Northern Sri Lanka, as was communicated via official embassy FB page, on 28th June.
Here is a report from 20th May, where the Government of Japan had announced a USD 1.5million (LKR 600 million) funding to help the Government of Sri Lanka respond to the ongoing economic crisis.
Japanese Ambassador had met with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on 01st July as well and President Media reports that “Mr. Mizukoshi Hideaki further stated that continued efforts will be made to further strengthen the economic, social and cultural relations with Sri Lanka.” as seen below.Japan-Prez
Japanese Ambassador MIZUKOSHI had visited Jaffna from 27th to 30th June and had met a number of key officials. Since the Daily Mirror report had stated the Japanese Ambassador had “reportedly” made these remarks about not helping Sri Lanka at this point of time, during a discussion with TNA, we tried to contact a parliamentarian from TNA to get their version of the story. However, we did not get a response yet and hope to update this article with their version as well.
Meanwhile, we contacted the Chief Editor of Daily Mirror newspaper, Kesara Abeywardena, to get his views regarding this matter. He said that the Daily Mirror newspaper holds the responsibility for the accuracy of the controversial news about Japanese aids and they had reliable sources when publishing this news.
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Japanese Embassy rejects viral media reports about a decision to stop helping Sri Lanka in this moment and says Japan has decided to donate 3 million USD worth food and medicine as part of Emergency Grant Aid to Sri Lanka, through UNICEF and WFP, and will remain as a time-tested partner in Sri Lanka’s socio-economic development and will continue support to Sri Lanka.