Masahiro Mikami ended his term as Japanese ambassador to Cambodia and departed the Kingdom on December 21, with Australian ambassador Pablo Kang also set to return home.

Mikami sung the praise of Cambodians in a four-minute video message delivered in fluent Khmer.

“The Cambodian people are very respectful. I will leave Cambodia today with many good memories. Thank you for supporting my work for three years and four months in Cambodia. I would offer my sincere gratitude to the people of Cambodia,” he said.

Mikami began his mandate in September 2019, and despite the Covid-19 crisis, he was confident that Japan-Cambodia relations had and would continue to improve at all levels and in all areas.

He recalled that just this year, Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida met four times in both countries.

In November, the two governments announced that they would upgrade bilateral relations to a “comprehensive strategic partnership” next year, which marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“As the ambassador of Japan, I commend the great achievements of the Cambodian people, despite the devastation caused by the civil war. I am pleased that Japan contributed to the process of finding peace and rebuilding the country,” he said.

The relationship between the two nations is expanding, not only in terms of assistance from Japan but also in trade and other sectors, as the Cambodian economy grows and its capacity improves.

“I am pleased that people’s lives have improved over the past 30 years, though there are still many challenges ahead,” he said.

Australian ambassador Pablo Kang, who also completed his mission in Cambodia, hosted a farewell party for 35 Australia Awards Cambodia students on December 21. The students will begin studies in Australia next year.

According to the Australian embassy, next year it will offer additional scholarships, with students set to begin their studies in the second half of 2023.

“The Australian government is committed to building human resources in Cambodia. We are pleased to see that the Australian Scholarship Community is thriving, with nearly 1,000 Cambodian students receiving scholarships to pursue postgraduate studies in Australia since 1994,” the embassy said.

“The Australian government is proud to see our Australian alumni grow both professionally and personally, as active individuals who are contributing to the development of Cambodia,” it added.

On December 19, Kang bid farewell to Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, where he reflected on the progress of bilateral relations over the past three years.