The “Study in Japan” global network project has opened an ASEAN regional office on the campus of the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) to assist students with their plans.

Japan’s Okayama University was assigned to implement the project by the Japanese education ministry. The project commenced in 2019 with the aim to increase the number of international students from ASEAN 1.5 times by 2023 and was done in collaboration with six national universities in Japan.

“In order to achieve the goals we set, we are conducting seminars like the one this afternoon providing scholarship information through private and group consultations, and disseminating practical and useful information,” said Takayoshi Suzuki, vice-president for international affairs at Okayama University, during the June 6 launch event at the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Centre (CJCC) located on the RUPP campus.

“I believe that the newly opened office will be of great help to students who are considering studying in Japan,” he said.

Japanese embassy consular officer Tomoko Kubo said at the event that the opening of the office in Phnom Penh has great significance and the embassy looks forward to working closely with them to support people who are interested in studying in Japan.

She said the project was previously implemented in Myanmar, noting that the number of students from Myanmar who were studying in Japan tripled over a three-year period.

“By providing support and advice, I hope that this office will assist more Cambodian students who wish to study in Japan to make their dream a reality,” Kubo said.

She said the bond between Japan and Cambodia has been strengthened over the years as a result of the ties created by the people and organisations that serve as bridges between the two nations.

Kubo said this includes former Cambodian students whom the government sponsored or were privately funded who have returned with knowledge and an approach to problem-solving with the Japanese mindset.

She said she wished for the further development of friendly relations between Japan and Cambodia.

RUPP rector Chet Chealy said at the event that his university promised to do its best to accommodate the office and will do its best to make sure that the office will be comfortable and be able to work effectively on the campus.

“I call on all Cambodian people here, especially our colleagues from RUPP and the friends who used to be foreign students in Japan, to please do our best to help Okayama University and also to help disseminate this information to our students who potentially want to study in Japan.

“We thank you for looking at RUPP as your partners in disseminating this information to Cambodian youths. RUPP promises that we will do all we can to make your work successful here so that you can get more students from Cambodia to study at Okayama University,” he said.

Chealy said helping Japan increase the number of students from Cambodia is not only about the knowledge itself but also about friendship and strengthening ties between the two countries.

Okayama University contributes to Cambodia through this project with a tailor-made “Study in Japan” seminar that works on building international cooperation with Japanese universities and supporting Cambodia in development of global human resources through studying in Japan, according to Takao Inamori, associate professor from Okayama University.