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Japan eases visa rules for Cambodia

Visa regulations between Cambodia and Japan have been loosened amid efforts to boost foreign direct investment.

Effective today, ordinary Japanese and Cambodian passport holders will be eligible for long-term and multiple-entry visas to both countries, valid for up to three years, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation statement released on Monday.

Diplomatic passport holders will also be granted an automatic 30-day visa allowance in Cambodia and Japan. Representatives from both countries will announce the visa changes at the Asean-Japan Commemorative Summit on Friday in Tokyo.

The application criteria for the long-term and multiple-entry visas remain unclear and will be decided on independently by both countries, said Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

“This is to promote exchanges between the two countries … to increase investment from Cambodia to Japan, and Japan to Cambodia and to facilitate the entry into both countries,” Kuong said.

The announcement comes one week after the Council for Development of Cambodia (CDC) and the Asean-Japan Centre held a series of seminars promoting Japanese investment in the Kingdom.

CDC statistics presented during the December 2 and 3 seminars showed that between 1994 and October this year, Cambodia approved Japanese foreign investments of $593 million. Nearly half of that, or $271 million, came in 2012 alone.

Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodian Association for Travel Agents, said the new visas were also a vital factor in ramping up tourism between the two nations.

He called on both governments to cut visa-application red tape for “traveller convenience” and for airlines to introduce weekly scheduled flights between the countries.

“There are only charter flights and no regular schedules. With this new agreement, airline operators should speed up the process to introduce domestic flights.”

Japanese tourist arrivals rose 15.8 per cent to 165,359 in the first 10 months of the year, up from 142,812 during the same period in 2012.

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