Prime Minister Hun Manet is set to attend the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit, to be held in the Japanese capital Tokyo from December 16-18 as they mark their 50th anniversary of friendship and cooperation. Manet is also slated for a bilateral meeting with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida.

This announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, following an October 30 phone discussion between minister Sok Chenda Sophea and his Japanese counterpart Kamikawa Yoko, underscores the continuing support Japan offers to Cambodia’s long-term development.

“We eagerly await the arrival of Prime Minister Hun Manet for the [summit] and look forward to his bilateral meeting with our Prime Minister Fumio Kishida,” Yoko was quoted as saying in the ministry’s press release.

Their phone conversation also touched upon regional and international subjects, encompassing ASEAN-Japan ties, peacekeeping operations, demining training collaboration and the troubling circumstances surrounding the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Yoko conveyed her deep condolences for the unfortunate death of a Cambodian student in Israel when Palestine-based Hamas militant group launched their sneak attacks on October 7.

Cambodia and Japan lauded the exceptional strides in their relations, noting that this year is particularly significant as the two countries celebrate their 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties, which has recently advanced to a comprehensive strategic partnership level.

The ministers expressed satisfaction with the burgeoning cooperation across diverse sectors, particularly in the economic domain.

The statement cited Japan’s AEON Mall proliferation and the forthcoming launch of a Toyota assembly plant in Cambodia next year, to name but a few, as evidence of this strategic partnership.

The two nations reaffirmed their collective dedication to enhancing and broadening their multifaceted, mutually advantageous collaboration. This includes areas such as politics, defence, trade, investment, governance, legal matters and developmental cooperation.

‘Immense contribution’

Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Asian Vision Institute’s (AVI) Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies, emphasised Manet’s intentions to fortify and widen cooperation during the upcoming summit.

He said that after the 1993 general election, following years of civil war, Japan played a crucial role in Cambodia’s economic reconstruction and the enhancement of its democracy.

“From 1993 onwards, Japanese investors, technicians and government support have been evident in Cambodia. They’ve assisted in reviving drainage systems, roads and transport, among other areas.

“To be specific, Japan’s immense contribution to Cambodia’s socio-economic progression is undeniable. On the security front, Japan has also furnished the Cambodian military with technical and training assistance,” he said.