Mar 14, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is on a four-day official visit to Japan today held bilateral discussions with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a wide range of issues.
During the meeting, the two leaders agreed to upgrade and enhance bilateral cooperation and discussions to effectively address maritime security issues with common concerns and strengthen coast guard patrol in the Indian Ocean, Japan's Kyodo News Agency said.
Japan and Sri Lanka also agreed to share responsibility in ensuring stability in the Indian Ocean region and agreed to expand cooperation between the coast guards of the two countries in such areas as law-enforcement and disaster-prevention, according to a joint statement issued after the meeting.
The government of Japan has agreed to provide Sri Lanka US$ 426.2 million in loans and US$ 28 million in grants for the island's infrastructure development and disaster prevention.
Japan is apprehensive of China's influence in the Indian Ocean, and especially, on Sri Lanka with its assistance for mega infrastructure projects in the island such as the Hambantota Port in the south.
Japan has been the largest donor for Sri Lanka for some time until China claimed the position with US$ 1 billion assistance in 2011.
President Rajapksa who arrived in Japan on Tuesday met with the Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera yesterday on cooperation and exchanges between the two countries maritime forces.