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Japanese Finance Minister Shun’ichi Suzuki Embarks on Official Visit to Sri Lanka

Japanese Finance Minister Shun’ichi Suzuki arrived in Sri Lanka on Thursday afternoon (11), marking the commencement of an official visit to the country. The Sri Lanka Foreign Affairs Ministry has confirmed that Minister Shunichi will be engaged in official activities during his stay from 11th to 12th January 2024.

As part of his visit, the Japanese Finance Minister is scheduled to hold official discussions with President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry.

The delegation led by the Finance Minister of Japan will undertake visits to key institutions in Sri Lanka, including Parliament, Jayawardene Centre, Sri Jayawardenepura Hospital, Colombo Dockyard, and the Lanka Nippon Biztec Institute in Maharagama.

Earlier this week, Japan reiterated the significance of expeditiously finalizing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Sri Lanka and creditor nations for debt restructuring. An agreement in principle had been reached late last year. Japan, along with France and India, co-chairs the committee comprising 15 creditor nations.

Amidst its most severe financial crisis since gaining independence in 1948, Sri Lanka is actively seeking to restructure agreements with creditors. The country faced challenges such as soaring inflation, currency depreciation, and dwindling foreign reserves, resulting in an economic downturn and a default on foreign debt in May 2022.

In November, Sri Lanka and its creditors announced an agreement in principle on debt restructuring, covering approximately $5.9 billion of outstanding public debt. The restructuring involves a combination of extending maturity terms and reducing interest rates.

Sources: Government Information Department / Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Reuters

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