Minister of Interior Sar Kheng considered Japan’s assistance to Cambodia a significant contributor to the Kingdom’s achievements in recent years, including its national and commune council election processes.

He held a February 6 bilateral meeting with newly appointed Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Atsushi Ueno to discuss the progress of relations between Cambodia and Japan, especially in terms of Japanese development aid.

During the meeting, Sar Kheng offered a warm welcome to the ambassador and thanks to the government and people of Japan for their dedicated support of Cambodia’s development, from the Paris Peace Agreement to the present day.

“The accomplishments in social development that Cambodia has achieved could not have happened without the significant contributions of the Japanese government and its people,” he said.

He also mentioned the decades of cooperation that had led to a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two nations, which is an important step to improving and expanding bilateral ties between the two countries.

“Ueno told Sar Kheng that he was very pleased that he had been appointed to Cambodia, a country with a rich civilisation and excellent relations with Japan. He was pleased that the two nations had achieved a comprehensive strategic partnership, and proud of Japan’s contributions to Cambodia’s peace and development,” said the interior ministry.

The ambassador described the progress of a number of projects that Japan is assisting the Kingdom on, including support for democratic development projects, election-related work through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and improving partnerships between the government and civil society organisations.

Sar Kheng also thanked Japan for its support for the projects, highlighting the importance of its assistance in the preparation of new voter lists, which he said were an important part of the Kingdom’s election process.

“I hope that the government of Japan will continue to support these activities, especially decentralisation reforms, and provide training for the sub-national administrations while the government implements the second phase of the National Strategic Plan,” he said.

Som Sorida, deputy secretary-general and spokesman for the National Election Committee (NEC), said Japan has never failed to support the Kingdom, especially in matters related to the election process.

“Although Japan has not been as active in recent years, through JICA, it has assisted us with voter education and outreach,” he added.

“Their contribution to our election work has been priceless. The NEC would like to thank the Japanese government for its continual financial, technical and specialist support,” he continued.

Sorida called on Japan to continue to support the election process and the development of Cambodian democracy. In particular, he asked that Japan consider supporting the digital modernisation work that the NEC is undertaking to improve on its older, manual information systems.