CaptureI used to have very good relations with the Japanese embassy in the period between 2007 and 2014. This began with my appreciation of their support for Sri Lanka during the war period, as explained in the first of the articles about my time at the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process, the series that appears in this newspaper on Saturdays.

The connection faded away in the last few years, given that I no longer held any official position connected with Japanese involvements in Sri Lanka. But suddenly last week this changed. The change began with the Dr Anthonis memorial lecture I had been invited some time back to deliver. It was organized by the Lanka-Japan Friendship Association, and the Chief Guest was the Japanese Ambassador.

But then that very evening I was invited to dinner by the State Minister of Foreign Affairs, who has taken on the vital task of maintaining cordial relations with the diplomatic community, since this is not a task the Minister finds congenial. In addition to the Ambassador, who turned out to have worked closely with my friend from university days who had been the Japanese representative in Geneva from 2009 onward, the Minister had asked the Deputy and the Political Affairs Officer, as well as the Secretary to the Ministry.

The two junior Japanese had been here during the war period, though both had left before I took over at SCOPP so I did not know them. The latter however said he had met me when I was briefly a State Minister, and the former had looked me up when he heard I was delivering the Anthonis lecture, and also therefore knew of my earlier political involvements.

I was delighted to meet them given how positive the Japanese had been during the war. Their roving ambassador Mr Akashi, whom I had met often, had done his best both to support us and also to point the Rajapaksa government in the right direction with regard to positive measures to help the Tamil people while continuing with the war against terror. In this regard the Japanese were much less hypocritical than many westerners, though I should note that by and large the American ambassador Bob Blake was also more balanced, given that he served a Republican administration (and when he changed, he explained that it was because he now had new masters, namely the arch hypocrite Hillary Clinton and her acolytes).

I knew then that we had good reason to be grateful to the Japanese. But it was only later in the week that I was sent evidence of how very much we owed them.

For they had stood steadfast against a dastardly attempt by Ranil Wickremesinghe to persuade them to cut assistance to us. Bob Blake had reported, in a cable of June 2007, just after I took over at SCOPP, that Akashi had repudiated  ‘a private exhortation by Opposition Leader Wickremesinghe for Japan to suspend its economic assistance’.

I am not sure if President Sirisena knows about this, but he needs to register that he is in fact in cohabitation with someone who was prepared to sacrifice the people of this country to fulfil his own political agenda. Akashi’s response, ‘later reiterated publicly’ as Blake put it, was that ‘the Sri Lankan people should not be punished “for acts of commission and omission by their leaders.”’

Ranil I think cannot understand such principles. But I suppose this is understandable in someone who obviously has no qualms about the Sri Lankan people being punished so he and his party can continue in clover. And given the enormity of the bond scam, it is sad that President Sirisena is parroting nonsense about Rs 9 trillion of foreign loans not being accounted for. Surely he must realize that the figures bandied about by Ranil and his cohorts are sheer nonsense, designed to draw attention away from the proven theft that occurred through his handpicked henchmen.

Whatever his subsequent acts of commission or omission, President Rajapaksa served the Sri Lankan people well in eliminating the terrorist threat. All Ranil has done is allow his henchmen to steal from them.

I used to have very good relations with the Japanese embassy in the period between 2007 and 2014. This began with my appreciation of their support for Sri Lanka during the war period, as explained in the first of the articles about my time at the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process, the series that appears in this newspaper on Saturdays.

The connection faded away in the last few years, given that I no longer held any official position connected with Japanese involvements in Sri Lanka. But suddenly last week this changed. The change began with the Dr Anthonis memorial lecture I had been invited some time back to deliver. It was organized by the Lanka-Japan Friendship Association, and the Chief Guest was the Japanese Ambassador.

But then that very evening I was invited to dinner by the State Minister of Foreign Affairs, who has taken on the vital task of maintaining cordial relations with the diplomatic community, since this is not a task the Minister finds congenial. In addition to the Ambassador, who turned out to have worked closely with my friend from university days who had been the Japanese representative in Geneva from 2009 onward, the Minister had asked the Deputy and the Political Affairs Officer, as well as the Secretary to the Ministry.

The two junior Japanese had been here during the war period, though both had left before I took over at SCOPP so I did not know them. The latter however said he had met me when I was briefly a State Minister, and the former had looked me up when he heard I was delivering the Anthonis lecture, and also therefore knew of my earlier political involvements.

I was delighted to meet them given how positive the Japanese had been during the war. Their roving ambassador Mr Akashi, whom I had met often, had done his best both to support us and also to point the Rajapaksa government in the right direction with regard to positive measures to help the Tamil people while continuing with the war against terror. In this regard the Japanese were much less hypocritical than many westerners, though I should note that by and large the American ambassador Bob Blake was also more balanced, given that he served a Republican administration (and when he changed, he explained that it was because he now had new masters, namely the arch hypocrite Hillary Clinton and her acolytes).

I knew then that we had good reason to be grateful to the Japanese. But it was only later in the week that I was sent evidence of how very much we owed them.

For they had stood steadfast against a dastardly attempt by Ranil Wickremesinghe to persuade them to cut assistance to us. Bob Blake had reported, in a cable of June 2007, just after I took over at SCOPP, that Akashi had repudiated  ‘a private exhortation by Opposition Leader Wickremesinghe for Japan to suspend its economic assistance’.

I am not sure if President Sirisena knows about this, but he needs to register that he is in fact in cohabitation with someone who was prepared to sacrifice the people of this country to fulfil his own political agenda. Akashi’s response, ‘later reiterated publicly’ as Blake put it, was that ‘the Sri Lankan people should not be punished “for acts of commission and omission by their leaders.”’

Ranil I think cannot understand such principles. But I suppose this is understandable in someone who obviously has no qualms about the Sri Lankan people being punished so he and his party can continue in clover. And given the enormity of the bond scam, it is sad that President Sirisena is parroting nonsense about Rs 9 trillion of foreign loans not being accounted for. Surely he must realize that the figures bandied about by Ranil and his cohorts are sheer nonsense, designed to draw attention away from the proven theft that occurred through his handpicked henchmen.

Whatever his subsequent acts of commission or omission, President Rajapaksa served the Sri Lankan people well in eliminating the terrorist threat. All Ranil has done is allow his henchmen to steal from them.

Ceylon Today 30 Jan 2018

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