Japan Govt. confers prestigious decoration on Merrick Gooneratne

Tuesday, 4 November 2014 02:12 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

On 3 November, the Government of Japan announced the conferment of ‘The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette’ upon Merrick Gooneratne in recognition of his invaluable contributions in promoting Japan and Sri Lanka relations. A congratulatory message was sent by Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, on 3 November upon the announcement stating: “Please accept my sincerest congratulations on the conferment of ‘The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette’, in recognition of your outstanding contribution, and my best wishes for your continued good health and happiness.” Merrick Gooneratne, who had his entire education at Maris Stella College, Negombo, is an alumnus of the University of Peradeniya in English, History and Economics and specialised in Economics. He was a Research Scholar who lived and studied in Japan under the Monbukagakusho scholarship scheme and earned his Post Graduate Research Certificate in International Economics from the Kyoto University, Japan. He also completed Module one of the Masters’ Degree Program in Japanese Studies at the University of Colombo. He studied Japanese language at the Osaka University of Foreign Studies, and is fluent in Japanese language conversation. Having served in the Sri Lanka Administrative Service, which he entered by open competitive examination in 1965, he held the position of Commissioner, Sri Lanka Tea Board in Tokyo, Japan. Since his postgraduate studies in Japan, he had joined the Japanese Graduates Alumni Association of Sri Lanka (JAGAAS) and served as its President for three terms. He was also the General Secretary of the Lanka-Japan Friendship Society for two terms. In these positions he has actively contributed towards the promotion of friendly relations and socio-economic and cultural linkages between Japan and Sri Lanka in various ways including assisting in organising seminars, workshops as well as special events. Gooneratne has also served as the Vice President of the Sri Lanka Japan Business Cooperation Committee of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (SLJBCC) since 2008 to date. In this position, he has assisted in the promotion of investment and trade ties between Japan and Sri Lanka and initiated the first ever ‘Mega Japan Quiz 2012’ for the SLJBCC to mark the 60th anniversary celebrations of diplomatic relations between Japan and Sri Lanka in 2012. He is presently the Executive Director of TOS Lanka Co. Ltd. – a fully Japanese owned BOI Enterprise in Hi Tech Electronics, in commercial operation since 1995. He has also held several honorary positions in the State sector as consultant to the Minister of Investment Promotion, Industry and Tourism and member of the Boards of Sri Lanka Tourist Board, Consumer Affairs Authority and Arthur C. Clark Technology Institute. Known for his steadfast loyalty to his Alma Mater, Maris Stella College, he is the first Maristonian to receive this prestigious honour in the over 90-year history of the college. The conferment ceremony will take place on Friday 28 November 2014, at the residence of the Japanese Ambassador at Colombo 7.