The Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan on Tuesday announced the 2019 Spring Conferment of Decorations recipients, among whom is former deputy prime minister Prince Norodom Sirivudh.
The half-brother of King Norodom Sihanouk and former secretary-general of the royalist Funcinpec party has been selected among 142 foreign nationals who will be conferred the Japanese decorations.
Such awards are bestowed upon foreign nationals twice a year, in spring and autumn, concurrently with the conferment of decorations and medals to Japanese nationals.
In a statement, the Japanese Embassy in Phnom Penh on Tuesday said Prince Norodom Sirivudh will be conferred the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun “in recognition of His Royal Highness’ contribution to strengthening relationship and friendship between Japan and Cambodia”.
It further read: “Since the year 1993 when Prince Norodom Sirivudh was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister, His Royal Highness has contributed to the bilateral relationship as not only Deputy Prime Minister, but also as High Privy Counselor of His Majesty the King of Cambodia, as well as the founder of Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace [CICP].
“Our two countries enjoy ‘Strategic Partnership’ nowadays due to His Royal Highness’ constant devotion to our relationship.”
Other prominent figures from Asean who are also in the list of recipients include Somdy Douangdy, Lao PDR’s finance minister and Malaysia’s former foreign affairs minister Syed Hamid Syed Jaafar Albar.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan lauded the Japanese government’s recognition of Sirivudh’s contribution, saying that it “added to the strengthening of foreign affairs and relations between the two countries”.
“The Prince was the first foreign affairs minister [of the Kingdom of Cambodia]. He created an institution for cooperation and peace."
“He created and participated in many establishments and achievements in national protection and development,” Siphan said.
For a large part of his early political career, Sirivudh lived in France and Thailand.
Former deputy prime minister and senior adviser to the King Keo Puth Raksmey was among 140 foreign recipients in the 2018 Spring Conferment of Decorations.