July 21-22, 2022
President-elect of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe, then opposition leader, asked Japan to suspend economic assistance to Sri Lanka back in 2007.
Japan responded that the Sri Lankan people should not be punished “for acts of commission and omission by their leaders.”
Sri Lanka is now grappling with the energy crisis, rampant inflation and economic mismanagement while trying to deal with the longer-term challenges of the pandemic and runaway climate change. There’s something of a proxy war between China and the USA over Sri Lanka.
Here are the words in the Wikileaks cable (unedited — I added emphasis):
In a (2007) briefing to Co-Chair Ambassadors on June 8, Japanese Special Envoy Yasushi Akashi found Colombo more polarized and pessimistic when he arrived on June 5 than he had seen in any of his 14 previous visits.
By the end of his visit, he was only slightly more optimistic.
In response to a private exhortation by Opposition Leader Wickremesinghe for Japan to suspend its economic assistance, Akashi told Wickremesinghe and later reiterated publicly that the Sri Lankan people should not be punished “for acts of commission and omission by their leaders.”
President Rajapaksa emphasized to Akashi the government’s readiness to investigate all human rights violations and support the Commission of Inquiry, but said that the “complete revamping” of the Sri Lankan legal system that some eminent persons were seeking would not be possible.
Rajapaksa repeated his pledge to support whatever consensus proposal emerges from the APRC process and pledged to do his best to persuade the people of Sri Lanka to support such a proposal.