According to internal sources, Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki Shunich met with Sri Lanka’s opposition leader, Sajith Premadasa, and MPs from Samagi Jana Balavegaya.
During the meeting, Minister Suzuki has reportedly stated that for Sri Lanka to restart the Japanese light rail project canceled by the Gotabhaya Rajapaksa government, the country should pay the amount spent by Japan on the project so far.
The sources indicate that Minister Suzuki emphasized the need for Sri Lanka to cover the billions of rupees spent by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on assessment reports, expert knowledge, and other infrastructure necessary for the light rail project’s initiation.
Despite the financial aspect, Minister Suzuki conveyed Japan’s interest in supporting investment projects in Sri Lanka. However, he expressed dissatisfaction with the economic policies of the Gotabhaya government.
The estimated cost of the Japanese light rail project is $1.8 billion, and it was abruptly canceled by the cabinet of President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The current President, Ranil Wickremesinghe, had sought to restart the project during his recent visit to Japan.