Japan's vice-minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said at a forum in Phnom Penh on Wednesday that Cambodia is in a similar situation to when Japan began its rapid economic growth.
Yuki Fumihiko said the Japanese government would continue to cooperate with Cambodia to ensure it does not encounter the same problems as Japan – placing particular emphasis on the importance of creating “smart cities”.
Japan chose Cambodia to host the first meeting of the Public-Private Platform for Urban Development, Cambodia-Japan. The forum, held in Phnom Penh, was attended by 58 Japanese and 123 Cambodian companies.
Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea Sophara, who attended the meeting, encouraged Japanese businesspeople to come to the Kingdom to invest either directly or in partnership with Cambodian nationals.
He said Cambodian authorities are willing to cooperate in every circumstance with Japanese investors. Cambodia’s current progress, he said, has owed much to huge contributions from the Japanese government and Japanese investors.
“I would like to thank the Japanese government for choosing Cambodia . . . to host the first meeting of the Public-Private Platform for Urban Development, which shows Japanese investors’ confidence in the potential of Cambodia’s economy,” he said, adding that the forum will further strengthen the solidarity and friendship of both nations.
Help avoid problems
Fumihiko said while Cambodia is in a similar position to Japan when it was at the start of a growth boom, Japan faced many problems – such as housing issues, traffic congestion and environmental concerns – that he hopes his government can to help the Kingdom avoid.
“The aim of the Japanese [government] is to cooperate with Cambodia to ensure that it does not face as many problems as Japan did when it comes to growth."
“Our goal is to create smart cities to make the lives of Cambodians easier and affordable, to allow them to connect with nature through the use of advanced technologies, and to solve the urban problems that are currently being faced,” he said.
Representing the private sector in the Kingdom, Housing Development Association of Cambodia president Ly Hour said the construction and infrastructure sectors are the most prominent and progressive, contributing to the four priority areas supporting Cambodia’s economic growth – agriculture, textiles, tourism and finance.
He said Japan has contributed significantly to helping the construction sector in the Kingdom – Japanese investors were ranked number three for Cambodian construction investment from 2000-2018.
“Cambodia still has many opportunities for investment, especially in the construction and infrastructure sectors, with the prospect of investors receiving high profits,” he said.