Prime Minister Hun Manet expressed his commitment to maintaining the Kingdom’s positive investment climate during a November 21 bilateral meeting with Takahashi Fumiaki, president of the Japan-Cambodia Association (JCA) and former Japanese ambassador to Cambodia.

Takahashi informed the prime minister that many Japanese businesses have expressed interest in investing in the Kingdom. Manet assured him that the implementation of new investment laws and fair competition polices would ensure that Japanese companies would find a welcome environment.

“The prime minister reiterated the government’s support and commitment to maintaining the stability and realism of the investment climate in Cambodia,” said a November 21 press release from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Takahashi explained that the JCA is actively recruiting Japanese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – with professional skills and modern technology – for investment in Cambodia. The association intends to establish an office in Phnom Penh to facilitate communication between SMEs and potential investment partners.

He also briefed the prime minister on the Japanese investment delegation’s interest in various sectors, including real estate, agriculture, construction and the establishment of vocational training schools.

Manet welcomed the focus on the Japanese SME sector, which aligns with his government’s key objectives. He supported the JCA’s plans to open an office in Cambodia and appreciated the delegation’s keen interest in investing in the country.

On November 20, Takahashi met with Prak Sokhonn, chairman of the Cambodian People’s Party’s (CPP) Foreign Relations Committee. Both groups committed to expanding cooperation to enhance investment and trade.

“Japanese investment has not only fostered Cambodia’s economic development but also advanced the growth of human resources by providing training in various technical skills for the nation’s employees and engineers,” said Sokhonn.

Seun Sam, an international relations researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said on November 22 that the 70-year bilateral relationship between Cambodia and Japan has been exceptionally positive, characterised by minimal issues, and that Japanese investments have spanned multiple sectors of the Kingdom’s economy.

He said Japan is held in high regard by ASEAN members, and attributed this to the favourable conditions of Japanese diplomacy and the ethical principles of the Japanese people.

“To enhance the advantages of our ties with Japan, particularly in attracting investments, the government should streamline law enforcement and simplify bureaucratic processes. Potential investors require comprehensive information about our country before committing,” he said.

Sam also urged the government to review and simplify certain procedures and forms, aiming to prevent investors from facing significant upfront costs and potential issues such as corruption and under-the-table transactions. These factors impact their trust and overall interest in operating a company in Cambodia.