The Government of Japan has conferred the Founder and President of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement Dr.A.T.Ariyaratne with one of its distinguished honours, ‘The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon in recognition for his outstanding contributions in enhancing relationship by people-to-people exchange between Japan and Sri Lanka.
The Conferment Ceremony will take place on 3rd of December 2012 at the Residence of the Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka. Commenting on the award, Japanese ambassador Nobuhito Hobo said Dr Ariyaratne has established exceptionally cordial relations with Japan while helping Japan’s cooperation for social and economic development in Sri Lanka and also enhancing exchanges between the peoples of our two countries.
One of the largest contributions of Dr.Ariyaratne is his effort to establish and develop the activities of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) in Sri Lanka in the late 1970s to 1990s. Due to Dr.Ariyaratne’s efforts, over 870 volunteers have been dispatched and working all over the country, and contributing to further strengthen relations between Japan and Sri Lanka. Dr.Ariyaratne has also contributed towards the development of friendship between the two countries through exchanges with Japanese political leaders, cultural organisations, etc.
His yearly visits to Japan to meet people as well as deliver lectures have inspired many Japanese people. The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, one of the decorations of Japan, are awarded by the Emperor of Japan to foreign nationals who have made notable contributions to enhance bilateral relations with Japan.
Dr.Ariyaratne who just celebrated his 81st birthday has received numerous international awards for his outstanding contributions to development and peace in Sri Lanka which include the Ramon Magsaysay Award from the Republic of the Philippines (1969), the King Baudouin Award from Belgium (1983), the Niwano Peace Prize from Japan (1992), the Gandhi Peace Prize from the Government of India (1996) and just this week, the Chief Minister of Haryana State – India, Shri Bhupinder Singh conferred on him the â€œChaudhury Ranbir Singh Award for Promotion of Gandhian Valuesâ€.