Japan's special envoy, Yasushi Akashi, has begun talks with Sri Lankan leaders, trying to press the government and Tamil Tiger rebels to resume the stalled peace process.

Mr. Akashi, who arrived in Colombo Wednesday, has met with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapake, and is due to hold talks with leaders of ethnic political parties before meeting rebel leaders.

Japan -- Sri Lanka's largest aid donor -- has joined Norwegian-led efforts to forge a lasting peace in the South Asian island nation.

Mediators are trying to get the Colombo government and Tamil rebels to agree on an agenda to resume peace talks that have been suspended since April 2003.