Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday ordered officials to investigate whether Cambodian students in Japan were affected by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated parts of Japan on Friday.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony at the National Institute of Education, Hun Sen said that he had not yet received reports about Cambodian students studying in Japan.
“We are thinking about our students staying and studying in Japan, whether they are impacted, which requires further investigation,” he said. “I urged the Ministry of Education to contact the Cambodian embassy in Japan.”
The earthquake struck northern Japan, triggering a tsunami and leaving more than 10,000 estimated dead and thousands injured or missing.
“It is a huge tragedy that [tsunami] attacked Japan,” said Hun Sen. “This is a huge destruction that will influence the Japanese economy.”
Keo Sakal, director of the scholarship office at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, said that more than 300 Cambodian students had received scholarships to study in Japan but his office was searching for exact figures.
“According to the information I received from the Cambodian embassy in Japan, two Cambodian scholarship students were staying in the earthquake zones, though they returned home...before the earthquake erupted,” said Keo Sakal.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said that as of yesterday no Cambodian students or citizens living in or travelling to Japan had been reported injured or missing.
“We have informed [the public] that if any people lost their relatives or missed information of their relatives in Japan they should contact the Cambodian Embassy in Japan for assistance,” said Koy Kuong.
Hun Sen said that about 20 Cambodian students in Libya had been repatriated with assistance from Vietnam.
“The situation in Libya remains worse and our students cannot return back.”