Japan is expected to sign a concessional loan agreement worth 20 billion yen ($180 million) with the Kingdom this month for Covid-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan Phase 2, the Cambodian Ministry of Economy and Finance said on November 30.

The decision was revealed at a meeting on November 29 between Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth, Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami, and Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) Cambodia Office chief representative Haruko Kamei.

The finance minister said Japan has “always supported” the Kingdom materially, technically and financially in almost every area, promoting social welfare and development. He highlighted Tokyo’s recent financial contributions to the health and clean water sectors as an example.

Pornmoniroth also welcomed initiatives to bolster investment in Cambodia, and deeply thanked the Japanese government and people for its “consistent attention” and provision of “well-directed” development cooperation in virtually all fields.

He stressed that this reflects the role of Japan as an “important strategic development partner” that contributes to the Cambodian government’s efforts to optimise the Kingdom’s development.

Ministry spokesman Meas Soksensan told The Post on December 2 that the concessional loan would be allocated to state budget reserves.

“We do appreciate any and all help from development partners, and we’ll ensure that the funds are used efficiently, and aimed at fighting the spread of Covid-19, as well as to spur the economy,” he said.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, underlined the importance of the targeted loan, given the Kingdom’s nearly two year-long struggles with the Covid-19 crisis.

He said Japan has been a major donor to Cambodia for nearly 30 years, and has awarded a large number of grants to help build infrastructure, and underpin education and health.

Vanak contended that using Japanese financing in a transparent and dignified manner would encourage Tokyo to continue to provide assistance, which he said would prop up the Kingdom’s socio-economic growth, particularly after Covid ends.