Further observations on the public lecture: Did Japan contribute to Sri Lanka’s independence
Posted on June 30th, 2019

Janaka Perera

Having read the responses to the article in ‘Lankaweb’ under the caption, ‘Did Japan contribute to Sri Lanka’s Independence,’ I, as the writer who attended the public lecture and subsequent discussion at the Mahaweli Centre Auditorium, Colombo, on June 24, wish to state the following.

At the outset the Speaker Senaka Weeraratna said that the chief purpose of his talk was to explore an alternate version of history, which has been suppressed hitherto by mostly colonized minds that dominate the mass media, academia, and civil society in former colonies.  

He was commenting neither on Japan’s actions in occupied territories nor what they probably would have done if they had won the war. His main focus was on the knock on effect of Japan’s World War II role on European colonies in Asia.

Mr. Weeraratne further said that he visited Japan to deliver a talk at the Japanese Parliament (Conference Room No. 101 of the Japanese Diet) on the invitation of the Japanese ‘Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact’ to express gratitude to Japan. There he had said:

I am here today not only to share my thoughts on what needs to be done to rectify a blatant historical injustice done to the leaders and people of Japan in the aftermath of the Second World War, through manipulation of the media and the writing of history, but also to fulfill a long overdue duty, as a Buddhist Sinhalese from Sri Lanka, as a representative of South Asia and a fellow Asian, to thank Japan for setting in motion a phenomenal process that brought about the liberation of Asia from Western colonial domination. 

Mr. Weeraratna also made the following points:

1)      He has taken up this cause to help re-write the narrative on how Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948 which currently is full of falsehoods and fake story lines.

2)      He was NOT there to defend war crimes of any nation be it Germany or Japan, but at the same time to draw attention as a lawyer, to abuse of due process at both the Nuremberg and Tokyo War Crimes Trials. It was Victor’s Justice. High Grade ‘Lynch Mob’ mindset was the description of an American Jurist at what happened at the Tokyo Trials.

3)       Sri Lanka gained independence not solely due to internal factors but largely due to external factors such as the attack by Japan on Pearl Harbour in 1941 which precipitated a series of events leading to Subash Chandra Bose, Indian Patriot and nationalist, who formed an Indian National Army (INA) comprising 100, 000 Indian soldiers, that joined hands with the Japanese Army to fight the British at Impahl and Kohima in 1944.

4)      Though the Japanese and INA lost these Battles, the British decision to try INA soldiers for high treason after the war at the Red Fort in Delhi, backfired.

5)      It led to the possibility of an Indian Mutiny in the British Indian Army, Navy and Air Force on a scale bigger than what happened in 1857.

6)      Riots in Bombay in 1946 with the likelihood of riots spreading to all over India under the mantle of Indian nationalists and freedom fighters, were very high.

7)      The British then realized that the game was up, and with the British economy drained of resources due to continuous war and British people tired of unceasing wars, and not in a mood to engage in further battles, Clement Attlee, the then British Labour Prime Minister, wisely decided to grant independence to India and Pakistan, which took effect on August 15, 1947.

8)      Sri Lanka received independence on February 4, 1948 as a ‘Knock on’ effect of grant of independence to India on August 15, 1947.

9)      The dates ‘February 4, 1948 and August 15, 1947’ are intertwined.

10)  There would have been no independence to Sri Lanka on February 4, 1948 if India did not receive independence on August 15, 1947. 

        This is the true position.

11)   India was the Jewel in the British Imperial Crown.

12)   We in Sri Lanka gained freedom on a platter, without a fight, without in any way troubling the foreign occupier. There was no bloodshed in Sri Lanka to gain freedom in 1948.

13)   But there was bloodshed outside Sri Lanka. It was shed by other Asians to get rid of European occupation of vast swathes of Asian Territory. 

14)   It was largely these blood sacrifices, mostly Japanese soldiers and joined by the sacrifices of other Asians from India, Indonesia, Burma, Vietnam, Malaya etc. that finally sealed the fate of European colonialism in Asia.

15)     We were lucky. We never really fought on battlefields (after 1818 and 1848). However, we must be grateful to those who fought for our freedom outside our country under the slogan ‘Asia for Asians’ led by Japan, and contributed towards us gaining freedom from the British Raj

Mr. Weeraratne’s is a point of view that gives food for thought on a critical but yet balanced perception of what happened during the WW II years.

2 Responses to “Further observations on the public lecture: Did Japan contribute to Sri Lanka’s independence”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    Sri Lanka and most other European colonies were granted Independence by the Atlantic Charter agreed by the US and the UK in 1941. It was later approved by some others.



    Adherents of the Atlantic Charter signed the Declaration by United Nations on 1 January 1942, which became the basis for the modern United Nations.

    The eight principal points of the Charter were:

    1. no territorial gains were to be sought by the United States or the United Kingdom;
    2. territorial adjustments must be in accord with the wishes of the peoples concerned;
    3. all people had a right to self-determination;
    4. trade barriers were to be lowered;
    5. there was to be global economic cooperation and advancement of social welfare;
    6. the participants would work for a world free of want and fear;
    7. the participants would work for freedom of the seas;
    8. there was to be disarmament of aggressor nations, and a common disarmament after the war.


  2. samurai Says:

    Can you provide irrefutable historical sources to prove point by point EXACTLY as you have stated them?

    If you cannot not it again proves you have distorted, misinterpreted and exaggerated facts as you always do

    Thanks Christie

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