Many distinguished guests, with Hon. Karu Jayasuriya, Speaker of the Parliament gracing as the Chief Guest, participated in this special occasion.
On May 1st this year, His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince Naruhito acceded to the Throne as the 126th Emperor of Japan. Commenced on the same day was the new Japanese era of “Reiwa”. Citing that Sri Lanka and Japan enjoy extremely cordial and friendly relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1952, Ambassador Sugiyama recalled with great pleasure the Comprehensive Partnership declared in 2015, the true friendship demonstrated during the devastating Tsunami that hit Sri Lanka and Japan in 2004 and 2011 respectively, close associations maintained by the Imperial Family with Sri Lanka, and unwavering solidarity expressed with the Sri Lankan people after the heart-rendering Easter Sunday terror attacks, as salient examples of such cordial relationship, among others.
Hon Karu Jayasuriya, in turn, recounted the preceding era of “Heisei” as the era of peace and prosperity and expressed his enthusiasm to work with Japan to make His Majesty’s vision of peace in our world a reality in the era of “Reiwa”.
The literal translation of new Japanese era “Reiwa”, which originates from the “Manyoushu”, the oldest compilation of Japanese poetry of more than 1200 years ago, is “beautiful harmony”, but it also contains the meaning of “culture coming into being and flourishing when people bring their hearts and minds together in a beautiful manner”. While quoting His Majesty’s noble statement on the occasion of the First Audience after the accession to the Throne -“I sincerely pray for the happiness of the people and the further development of the nation as well as the peace of the world”-, Ambassador Sugiyama, in his speech, solemnly renewed his firm resolve to work towards further promoting the friendly relationship between Sri Lanka and Japan in the era of “Reiwa".