Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Atsushi Ueno has expressed the hope of the government and people of Japan landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) will soon be cleared from Cambodian land.
Ueno conveyed the message at the September 5 handover of equipment donated by Japan to the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) under the “Economic and Social Development Programme”.
CMAA first vice-president Ly Thuch expressed his appreciation for the donation at the ceremony held at at CMAA headquarters.
Cambodia and Japan commemorated 70 years of diplomatic ties this year, and Thuch described how the two nations had developed a close relationship based on mutual respect and shared values since 1953.
“Japan has played a significant role in Cambodia’s socio-economic growth.
“It has assisted the Kingdom in numerous fields, including physical infrastructure, tourism, education, the preservation of historical sites including Angkor Wat, and mine action,” he said.
The donation comprised 23 pickup trucks and 37 motorcycles – both with spare parts – as well as 54 GPS units, 30 sets of personal protective equipment, 30 mine detectors and 75 laptops.
He explained that from 1994 to 2022, Japan provided over $200 million in direct funding to demining efforts.
This support included funding through a Japanese NGO, as well as the provision of equipment and consultancy services for various projects.
He highlighted that in the past three decades, a total area of 2,761sqkm of land has been successfully cleared.
The accomplishment significantly reduced the number of mine and ERW casualties, he said, which had dropped from 4,320 in 1996 to an average of less than 100 per year in the past decade. In 2022, there were just 41 victims.
These achievements were the result of collaborative efforts involving the government, donor countries, development partners, demining operators and various other stakeholders.
Ambassador Ueno expressed his appreciation of the successful outcome of mine clearance efforts, noting that they had cleared a vast amount of land that had been contaminated with landmines since the civil war.
“Cambodia received contributions from the Japanese government and people. We remain hopeful landmines and ERWs will be cleared from Cambodian land for good, ensuring the safety of the Cambodian people,” he said.
He noted that in addition to support for mine clearance in Cambodia, the two countries recently provided training to demining officials from Ukraine.
Thuch shared his belief that the donated equipment will significantly boost the CMAA’s operational efficiency, particularly in the areas of field assessment and surveys, risk education, and leadership in the mine action sector.
He said he held high hopes the kind gesture from Japan would inspire ongoing efforts towards achieving a mine-free Cambodia in 2025.