Nearly 50 Cambodian students have won scholarships to study in Japan, Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour said.

The 48 students are recipients of JDS and MEXT Scholarships, he said in his Facebook post on Thursday.

The JDS Scholarship programme was launched by the Japanese government in 2000 and is offered by Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the government of Japan to support human resource development.

JDS targets highly capable, young government officials and others who are expected to engage in formulating and implementing social and economic development plans and become leaders after earning Master’s degrees in Japan. There are 857 Cambodia JDS scholars currently in that country.

The MEXT Scholarship started in 1993 and is the largest scholarship for studying in Japan with more than 1,100 scholars, ranging from skilled workers to doctoral students.

The scholarships are provided by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT). MEXT currently offers four types of scholarships – students carrying out research, undergraduates, those in technology colleges and specialised training colleges.

The labour ministry's website said: “From 1993 to the present, thousands of Cambodian students have gone to study in Japan, including some short courses.

“Graduated scholars returning to Cambodia are now working in research institutions, government institutions, NGOs and the private sector, which has helped develop the country and build a stronger national economy.”

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party’s youth wing chief, Hun Manet, held a gathering of scholarship recipients in the capital on Thursday. It included government officials and alumni.

Manet said Japanese scholarship holders are a potential resource for Cambodia and will contribute to the economic and social development of the Kingdom.

“Learn to create relations and friendship with other students and take the opportunity to become Cambodia’s ambassadors. Promote the culture as well as civilisation, tourism and the rich potential of Cambodia,” he told the scholarship winners.

Sam Sopheap, a representative of the scholarship winners, expressed his commitment and said the students will bring the good knowledge and experience gained from Japan to contribute to the further development of the Kingdom.

“As a representative of JDS and MEXT scholarship’s winners, I would like to express my deep gratitude to Dr Hun Manet for organising this gathering.

“I commit to returning with the good knowledge and experience gained from Japan to contribute to our existing development under the leadership of Samdech Techo Prime Minister [Hun Sen] who has transformed the country from empty hands to be equal to other countries both regionally and globally,” Sopheap said.