The government of Japan has announced the recipients of “The Order of the Rising Sun” for the Spring Conferment this year.

Two highly acclaimed individuals from Sri Lanka have been honoured with this esteemed decoration in recognition of their distinguished contributions to enhancing the Japan-Sri Lanka relationship. Their details are as follows.

They are Kosala Rohana Wickramanayake and Athula Robert Francis Edirisinghe.

Wickramanayake is a former President of the Lanka Japan Friendship Society and former President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka.

He contributed to promoting friendly relations and mutual understanding and economic exchange between Japan and Sri Lanka.

he has been a great supporter of Japan and, as a member of the Lanka Japan Friendship Society, has contributed to deepening friendly relations and promoting mutual understanding between Japan and Sri Lanka, particularly during his tenure as President of the Society in 2011-2012.

With his extensive business experience, Wickramanayake has also contributed extensively to the promotion of economic relations between Sri Lanka and Japan, including as Managing Director of 'Kosala Agencies', an automobile importing company, and as a member of the Sri Lanka-Japan Economic Committee, a forum where such business experience could be utilized in a manner more conducive to the expansion of economic relations between Japan and Sri Lanka.

With a deep understanding of Japanese companies and business based on his experience, Wickramanayake has been a catalyst for Japanese companies to establish a foothold in Sri Lanka and prosper together with Sri Lankan business, which has helped to increase interest and understanding of Japan in Sri Lanka.

Edirisinghe is a former President of the Japan Sri Lanka Technical & Cultural Association (JASTECA).

He has contributed to promoting friendly relations, mutual understanding and economic exchange between Japan and Sri Lanka.

Edirisinghe promoted Japanese management practices to enhance productivity in the Sri Lankan economy and strengthened economic relations between Japan and Sri Lanka.

Since joining the JASTECA in 1991, Edirisinghe has actively engaged in training programs in Japan to acquire knowledge of Japanese management techniques such as 5S and Kaizen.

As President of JASTECA from 2013, he played a key role in creating new guidelines for CSR Sustainability Awards, organizing seminars on Japanese management, and advocating for the introduction of Japanese management practices in Sri Lanka.

His efforts were recognized during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Sri Lanka in September 2014, where a joint statement by the two state leaders praised JASTECA, highlighting its role in promoting Japanese management practices in Sri Lanka and enhancing bilateral cooperation.

This recognition has led to an increased awareness and trust in Japanese management practices in Sri Lanka, ultimately contributing to the positive image of Japan.

And as a business leader, Edirisinghe also created a pioneering business model that has brought in positive results for leading companies in Japan to procure Sri Lankan quality products to be used by Japanese consumers.

Furthermore, as the co-owner/director of "Kuuraku," a Japanese restaurant in Colombo, he has significantly contributed to the promotion of Japanese cuisine and culture in Sri Lanka.

Despite challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant introduced the first Japanese food delivery service in Sri Lanka, supporting the culinary needs of Japanese residents.

Furthermore, it hosted events to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Japan-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations in 2022, showcasing the appeal of Japanese cuisine to a wide audience.

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