Chumreap Suo! It is my great pleasure to celebrate the National Day of Japan with Cambodian people again this year, although it is unfortunate that we are still having to avoid meeting up face to face or gathering in large groups.
Despite these hardships, I will do my best in further advancing and strengthening our relationship.
Year 2020 was an extraordinary year. Interaction between people was severely restricted, especially across borders, because of Covid-19, and the flow of people travelling between Japan and Cambodia was no exception.
To assist in overcoming the challenges presented by this situation, and to help improve the medical situation in Cambodia, Japan has provided multiple batches of medical equipment to Cambodia and will continue to deliver more in the future.
This Japanese assistance has included the provision of medical equipment as well as making improvements to and provided new equipment for the Siem Reap Referral Hospital.
We have also disbursed a concessional loan in Japanese yen – which is worth the equivalent of about $227 million – to support vulnerable people and small and medium-sized enterprises, and to strengthen medical capability.
In addition, we will make a contribution of more than $130 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, in order to enable lower income countries to reinforce equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.
Last year, continuous and torrential rainfall caused severe floods in many provinces across Cambodia and affected a large number of residents.
Once again, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to all those who lost their lives and to their grieving families.
The government of Japan provided emergency relief goods, including tents and water purifiers, through JICA.
Besides the work we have already done, we will be starting a new flood recovery support programme in partnership with World Food Programme Cambodia.
To enhance disaster resilience, Japan is also assisting Cambodia through the Project for Flood Protection and Drainage Improvement in the capital city of Phnom Penh.
I would like to thank all the Japanese and Cambodian workers for their continued efforts in implementing these projects, despite the difficulties posed by Covid-19.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreements. I would like to congratulate the Royal Government and the people of Cambodia for achieving peace and development.
I am proud that Japan has been working with Cambodia from the beginning of the peace process.
Cambodia was the starting point for Japan’s proactive contribution to peace and development and, with this connection in mind, I would like to express my appreciation for the active role that Cambodia is playing in United Nations Peacekeeping operations in recent years.
I believe that unity among all Cambodian people will be the key to the Kingdom achieving further development.
Japan will continue to support the democratic development of Cambodia while respecting the principles enshrined in the Paris Peace Agreements and the Constitution of Cambodia.
Other big events for us include the 13th Mekong-Japan Summit and the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to be held in Japan this year.
In recent years, regional integration has deepened, and peace and prosperity in the Mekong region, including Cambodia, remains extremely important. We wish to elevate Japan-Mekong cooperation to new heights.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 were rescheduled to 2021 because of the pandemic. The Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Games is scheduled to take place on July 23 and for the Paralympic Games on August 24.
In order to welcome athletes from around the world, and deliver a safe and secure games, all possible counter-measures against Covid-19 will be implemented.
I hope that Japan can host the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics as a symbol of victory and of global unity in overcoming Covid-19.
Last but not least, the “Japan-Cambodia Kizuna Week” will begin tomorrow. It is an online version of the annual “Japan-Cambodia Kizuna Festival”, which is the biggest Japanese cultural event in Cambodia.
From February 18-28, there will be many interesting videos and online workshops on the Facebook events page so that everyone can enjoy various aspects of Japanese culture from the safety of their homes.
On the occasion of our National Day, I wish their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan, His Majesty King Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, Her Majesty the Queen Mother and the peoples of Cambodia and Japan good health, happiness and prosperity.
I also wish for the friendship between Japan and Cambodia to continue flourishing.
HE Mikami Masahiro, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Kingdom of Cambodia.