Japanese ambassador to The Kingdom of Cambodia
It is my great pleasure to extend my message to my dear Cambodian friends on this special occasion of the 80th birthday of His Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Cambodia. Looking back on the year, this year was deserving of special celebration.
Throughout this anniversary year, we had more than 120 public and private commemorative events in both countries. In February, around 7,000 people participated in the “Japan-Cambodia Kizuna Festival” held in the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center (CJCC). In that Festival, diverse aspects of Japanese culture were introduced to Cambodia. Following this festival, various events highlighting Japanese traditional and contemporary culture, music and arts were held both in Japan and Cambodia.
The highlights of government-to-government relations were the visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Cambodia in November and the visit of Prime Minister Hun Sen to Japan this month. During the bilateral meeting between the two prime ministers, they agreed to upgrade the relations of the two countries, characterizing it as a “strategic partnership”. It is expected that the Japan-Cambodia bilateral relationship will further develop in years ahead.
In the field of economics too, there were a lot of remarkable developments. In February, a large mission from Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) visited Cambodia. The number of Japanese companies in Cambodia has steadily increased and now 118 companies are registered as regular members of the Japanese Business Association of Cambodia (JBAC).
With regard to Official Development Assistance (ODA), Japan has been assisting Cambodia as a top donor since 1992. Japan widely supports Cambodia through infrastructure projects, such as Neak Loeung Bridge and National Roads No 1 and No 5 which are part of the Southern Economic Corridor, through technical assistance including social development and good governance, and through grassroots assistance in cooperation with NGOs. Regarding technical assistance in particular, scores of Japanese experts and volunteers have been dispatched and are playing important roles for the development of Cambodia. Japan intends to continue its assistance for the development of Cambodia and Cambodian people, combining private- and public-sector strengths.
I hope that the coming year, 2014, will be the year of further strengthening the relationship between Japan and Cambodia, based on the results of the past 60 years of bilateral relations. Japan will further promote exchanges between the peoples of the two countries. Prime Minister Abe expressed his intention to conduct exchange projects in the next five years involving approximately 3,000 young people.
Lastly, I would like to express my best wishes for the good health, happiness and longevity of His Majesty the Emperor Akihito of Japan, for the good health, happiness and longevity of His Majesty the King Norodom Sihamoni and of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk. I also wish happiness and well-being for the people of Japan and Cambodia.