First-Strike Ceremony of 1,000 Rupee Commemorative Silver Coin to mark 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations
The Tokyo Bureau of Japan Mint of The Government of Japan printed a 1,000 Rupee Silver Coin to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Sri Lanka. The so-called, the First-Strike of the issuance of 1,000 Rupee Commemorative Silver Coin, Ceremony was held at the Japan Mint of Tokyo Bureau on 4th of October, 2012. The Japan Mint, the Government entity which issues coins, has received an order to make Commemorative Silver Coins by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to be issued to mark the said 60th year Anniversary. This high profile Ceremony was attended by Senior Ministers, Vice Ministers, Members of Parliament, Diplomatic Corps, Senior Bureaucrats & Technocrats of Ministries of Foreign Affairs & Finance, select Financial Institutions and Media, among others.
The First-Strike of the issuance of the said 1,000 Rupee Commemorative Silver Coin was conducted by Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Japan, Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda; the former Prime Minister of Japan & Honorary Chairman of Japan Sri Lanka Association, Mr. Yasuo Fukuda; former Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology & Chairman of Japan-Sri Lanka Friendship Parliamentarian League, Mr. Hirofumi Hirano; and Mr. Michiyoshi Yunoki, Vice Minister of Finance, respectively. Once the First-Strike of the 1,000 Rupee Commemorative Silver Coin was completed at the Japan Mint, Ambassador Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, in his opening remarks, expressed the gratitude of the Government of Sri Lanka as well as his gratitude to the Government of Japan, select dignitaries and political leaders, Diplomatic Corps, Senior Officials of the relevant Ministries and the Media, among others, for being present at this monumental Ceremony. Ambassador Karannagoda impressed the fact that the issuance of a Silver Coin to commemorate the 60th year Anniversary to signify the Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Sri Lanka was a compelling reflection and a testament of the depth and of the breadth of the cordiality and the congeniality of the relations between the two countries. He further added that the two countries had steadfastly and resolutely stood by each other, both at good times and at testing times, thus assisting and cooperating each other. Ambassador Karannagoda, in his brief remarks, underlined and highlighted the watershed comment made by the then Finance Minister of Sri Lanka at the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, the recent visit of the Deputy Prime Minister of Japan to Sri Lanka after almost two decades, cooperation and support extended by the Government of Japan at the Human Rights Council in March of 2012, the assistance extended by Japan when the Indian Ocean Tsunami struck Sri Lanka in 2004 and the myriad of assistance, cooperation and Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) given by the Government of Japan over the last several decades, among others. He further added that when the Deputy Prime Minister of Japan visited Sri Lanka in May of 2012, he invited the President of Sri Lanka to visit Japan, this year, to mark the said 60th year Anniversary.
The former Prime Minister, Mr. Yasuo Fukuda, in his address, stated that he has visited Sri Lanka on several occasions and had witnessed, on first hand basis, the economic trajectory and advancement, after the country achieved peace and stability. The former Prime Minister Fukuda stated that the depiction on the said Commemorative Silver Coin was the Kotmale Hydro Power Plant, which was an ODA grant by the Government of Japan. For record, he stated that he had visited the Kotmale Hydro Power Plant, during one of his visits to Sri Lanka. He further added that the said depiction of Kotmale Power Plant would epitomise and characterise the depth of relations between the two countries. Mr. Fukuda, also added that this Ceremony to issue the said Commemorative Silver Coin was obviously a memorable event since the two countries were marking the 60th year Anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations. The former Prime Minister Fukuda commended and praised Ambassador Admiral Karannagoda for his unstinting efforts extended during the Great East Japan Earthquake by visiting the devastated locations, several occasions, and assisting affected people. Also, Mr. Fukuda, in his address, stated that Ambassador Admiral Karannagoda was a personality of stature and standing and he continues to further strengthen and enhance the bilateral relations between Japan and Sri Lanka. The former Cabinet Minister, Hirofumi Hirano, stated in his address that he has been to Sri Lanka two decades ago and since then has been closely engaged of the developments and the dynamics of Sri Lanka. He further added that he was the Chairman of Japan-Sri Lanka Friendship Parliamentarian League, which enabled him to meet and to interact with a number of diverse political parties and political leaders from Sri Lanka. He underscored the fact that he was keen and fervent to further strengthen the already cordial and strong relations between the two countries. The Vice Minister of Finance, Mr. Michiyoshi Yunoki, also stated that this was a momentous occasion, thus symbolising the cordiality of the relations between the two countries.
A formal message of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr. Koichiro Gemba, was read by Mr. Kanji Yamanouchi, Deputy Director General of Asia Pacific Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at this occasion, which also highlighted the significance of the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951 and just after the Treaty Conference, the diplomatic relations between Japan and Sri Lanka were established. The message impressed, particularly, the bilateral meeting between the Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka and himself in last July and stated that it was very successful and meaningful. The message of the Foreign Minister Gemba stressed that Sri Lanka is focusing and addressing the cogent and demanding issues such as rehabilitation, reconciliation, and resettlement, among others, particularly in the North and East. The message enunciated the economic and commercial advancement of the country since the conflict ended in May of 2009, and added that he was impressed of the rate of growth in the country. Further, tourism from Japan to Sri Lanka had increased, markedly, and the Government of Japan wishes to be engaged on all key aspects of Sri Lanka such as cultural, political and economic. The message concluded by stating that the Kotmale Hydro Power Plant depicted on the Commemorative Silver Coin, which was emblematic of the future relations between the two countries, since the said Plant was financed by an ODA grant by Japan. The President of Japan Mint stated that this was not only an occasion to issue a Commemorative Silver Coin but was also a memorable occasion for the Japan Mint. He added that this would also promote and transcend their activity to other countries as well. The President of Japan Mint made those comments before the conclusion of the formal Ceremony.
The First-Strike Ceremony of the Commemorative Silver Coin to mark the 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Sri Lanka was so unique and distinctive since this was the first occasion that the Japan Mint printed a Commemorative Coin to a foreign country. On the same note, this was only the second occasion that the Japan Mint printed a foreign coin. This, itself, reflects and resonates the stability and the congeniality of the relations between Japan and Sri Lanka. Among the distinguished and select gathering at the First-Strike Ceremony, the Envoys/Ambassadors of India, Bangladesh and Nepal as well as a Representative from Maldives were present at this exclusive Ceremony.
Embassy of Sri Lanka in Japan
4th October, 2012