MORE than 1,000 Cambodians in Tokyo, Japan, demonstrated on Sunday, demanding that the Japanese government cease supporting the upcoming national elections. The protesters asked the Japanese government to declare that it will not support the national elections on July 29 or its results.
Officials from the Cambodian government and the National Election Committee (NEC), however, claimed the demands would have no impact on the ballot.
The demonstration in Japan coincided with a US protests that drew more than 500 Cambodians outside the Japanese Embassy of the United Nations in New York on Saturday where they, too, demanded the Japanese government pull its support for the polls.
Hay Vanna, leader of the demonstration, said they held the rally to demand that Japan withdraw its support for the election, lest it lose its reputation on the international stage. He claimed the gathering in Tokyo had an identical motive.
“We organised this demonstration but have not yet written a petition. However, we plan to submit one to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this month,” he said.
Hang Puthea, a spokesman for the National Election Committee (NEC), said on Sunday that the Japanese government’s funding his committee receives is “loyal aid” to Cambodia. Therefore, Japan will not react to the incitement of a small group of people.
“We are not worried because Japan is an independent country. Japan will not listen to any incitements of politicians from any country. The demonstration is not effective.”
Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan could not be reached for comment on Sunday. However, last week he said although it was the protesters’ right to demonstrate, it will not be effective in putting pressure on Japan since the country is an independent nation.
“Cambodia has no worry whatsoever. Their action has no impact, and people are getting prepared to vote,” he said.
Representatives of the Japanese Embassy in Cambodia could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
According to a press release issued on Sunday, the protesters’ demands to the Japanese government cover two points – that it discontinue its support of the election process and that Japan publicly denies its support of the election and doesn’t endorse its results.