Japan has said it wants Hambantota port in Sri Lanka’s south to be free of military activities.
Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onedera told NHK TV in an interview during his two-day visit to the country, that he had raised the Hambantota issue with Sri Lanka.
The minister, who made a brief stopover at Hambantota today, said there is an agreement that port remains free of military activities. The port was leased to a Chinese company last year for operations for 99 years and there are concerns over its possible military use.
Sri Lankan government, has been maintaining that it will not permit China to use the port for military purposes. Mr. Onedera, who reached Colombo after concluding his India visit, is the first Japanese defence minister ever to visit Sri Lanka. His visit comes amid concerns over growing Chinese influence in Sri Lanka.