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Prime Minister Hun Sen discussed this with Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu
PHNOM PENH-- Prime Minister Hun Sen Saturday (Aug. 22) agreed to restore connectivity with Japan as both countries are reopening amid the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to a statement published on the Facebook page of the Japanese Embassy in Cambodia, Motegi mentioned to the prime minister that it was important to allow travel between the two countries to gradually restart while maintaining measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“[Motegi] stated that Japan will commence the ‘Residence Track’ as early as early September, which will enable long-term residents to travel between the two countries while maintaining the requirement of 14-day quarantine at home or another designated area after their entry,” the statement read, adding that “Japan would accept entry to Japan by Japanese-Government scholarship students from Cambodia at the earliest time.”
In a separate statement on his Facebook page, Hun Sen said that he supported the proposal to resume connectivity between the two countries as well as efforts to boost trade, business and other areas of cooperation, which he believes will strengthen bilateral relations.
Regarding travel resumption, the prime minister requested that the Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) resume flights to Cambodia, which he said will help normalize travel between the two countries as well as bring about an expansion in trade and investment, according to the statement.
Cambodia and Japan upgraded their relations to the level of strategic partnership in 2013. Since then, economic cooperation between the two countries has expanded significantly with bilateral trade reaching $2 billion in 2019.
During his meeting with the prime minister on Aug. 22, Motegi praised the Cambodian government for the effective measures taken in the country to stem the spread of COVID-19, according to the statement on Facebook.
In response, Hun Sen thanked the Japanese government and its people for the assistance provided over the past decades as well as the emergency assistance contributed to help Cambodia deal with the pandemic and offer support to Cambodian workers and students living in Japan.
Japan remains Cambodia’s biggest traditional donor. Between 1992 and 2018, its government provided more than $2.8 billion in official development assistance to Cambodia, which accounted for nearly 15 percent of financing from all its development partners over that 16-year period.
Last June, Japan pledged $6.3 million in emergency assistance to help Cambodia tackle COVID-19. This has included medical supplies and technical assistance.