Japan firms in Sri Lanka cautious after terror attacks

24, Apr. 2019

TOKYO, NNA - Japanese companies in Sri Lanka are taking a low key approach while assessing the effects of the bombings that killed up to 290 people over the weekend.

About 130 Japanese companies are operating in country.

Fastener maker YKK Corp. said it had not decided whether to resume business on Tuesday.

Transport company Expolanka Holdings PLC, which is 30 percent owned by SG Holdings Co., continued the shutdown of all 31 of its offices Monday and asked employees to stay home in accordance with the government curfew. It said the impact on transportation demand was still uncertain.

The curfew was in effect for a second night on Monday in the capital Colombo. Social media and messaging services, including Facebook and WhatsApp, were blocked by the government to try to curb the spread of misinformation.

Masatomo Itonaga in the Colombo office of the Japan External Trade Organization told NNA that some Japanese companies were operating on Monday with reduced staff.

Sri Lankan police have arrested 24 people in connection with the explosions at hotels and churches. They said one of the suicide bombers had been arrested a few months ago on suspicion of vandalizing a statue of Buddha.

Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not raised the warning level for Sri Lanka from 1 on a scale of 1 to 4.

Odakyu Electric Railway Co. said there would be no change in its plan to develop a 2.5 billion yen ($22.6 million) resort hotel in Sri Lanka with three other firms amid the shortage of tourist accommodation.

Civil war in the country ended 10 years ago and Sri Lanka was named the best country to visit in 2019 by the guidebook publisher Lonely Planet, for culture, wildlife and the friendliness of its people.

SriLankan Airlines Ltd. has continued its Narita-Columbo direct flights. An official of the airline in Tokyo said some passenger bookings had been cancelled but not on a large scale.

The airline plans to increase the number of flights per week from four to five in July.