Japan Discusses White Building Plans; No MoU Yet

Japan has agreed to work with the Ministry of Land Management to conduct studies into development of the iconic White Building in Phnom Penh, an official said on Monday, though no official agreement had been signed.

On Friday, Land Management Minister Chea Sophara toured the deteriorating low-income housing complex in Chamkar Mon district with Japan’s visiting deputy minister of land and infrastructure, Hideki Miyauchi, and suggested a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two governments to develop the site.

“They agreed that this building is very old and there is concern over safety…[of] villagers who reside there,” ministry spokesman Seng Lout said on Monday.

“His Excellency Chea Sophara agreed with [Japanese] delegates to study development ideas for this building together, but the form this will take has not been clearly discussed,” he said.

Japanese Embassy officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The push to develop the White Building comes nearly two years after City Hall announced the impending demolition of the site—home to hundreds of families—due to safety concerns, later backtracking on the threat amid public outcry.

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