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Japan to restart flights to Cambodia

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Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi (left) announced a resumption of flights between the two countries starting next month. SPM

Japan to restart flights to Cambodia

Japan will resume flights to Cambodia next month for business travellers and long-stay passengers, Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi announced at a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen over the weekend.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn was also at the meeting, which raised the importance of a gradual reopening, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA).

Japan will allow travel stating next month for travellers who stay long if they quarantine for 14 days, Motegi was quoted as saying.

“Motegi stated Japan will accept scholarship students from Cambodia as soon as possible,” the press release said.

Motegi stated that Japan supports the democratic process in Cambodia. Regional and international issues, including the South China Sea and North Korea, were also discussed.

Hun Sen expressed his deep appreciation to the Japanese government for its assistance to Cambodia to help Cambodians who are working or studying in Japan. Reopening travel will strengthen the relationship, push economic progress and investment and trade between the two counties, the release said.

“Hun Sen requested All Nippon Airways [ANA] reopen flights to enable travel between the two counties and increase the size of trade and investment,” according to Hun Sen’s Facebook page.

Cambodian-Japanese goods trade was worth around $2 billion last year. The Kingdom exported $1.2 billion in products and imported $0.8 billion.

Sokhonn and Motegi also discussed the implementation and progress of some major projects in Cambodia, including the development of the Preah Sihanouk Port – a new container port in Preah Sihanouk province – and National Road 5.

The project is expected to contribute to the expansion of investment activities and increase trade between the two countries.

Kin Phea, the director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said Japan did not raise issues related to human rights and democracy despite the urging of civil society organisations.

“Japan is very careful about raising issues to discuss with its partners, especially Cambodia. We rarely see Japan raise internal issues to discuss with any top leaders of Cambodia, which means it respects the internal sovereignty of Cambodia.

“Japan does not play the role as a spokesman for organisations to talk with top leaders of the country as it is not the diplomatic attitude of Japan,” he said.

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