Japan Asked To Comment on Choeung Ek Lease

Cambodia’s top genocide re­searcher Youk Chhang called on the Japanese government on Tues­­­­day to make its voice heard in the continuing controversy over the privatization of the Choeung Ek kil­ling fields.

Noting that a Japanese company, JC Royal, has secured the 30-year lease for the genocide memorial site and that Cambodian officials have stated that they feared a loss of official Japan government aid if they revoked the firm’s concession, Youk Chhang called on Ja­pan to “state its position on JC Ro­yal’s in­volvement in Choeung Ek.”

“First, I would hope that your government would clarify its relationship with the JC Royal Com­pany,” Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cam­­bodia, wrote in a letter to Ja­pan­ese Am­bassador Fumiaki Ta­kahashi.

“Would Japan, which has been such a generous donor in the past, be willing to jeopardize its relationship with Cambodians over the re­la­tively small amount of money the killing fields would earn?” Youk Chhang asked.

On Monday, Phnom Penh First Vice Governor Mam Bun Neang said that Japanese aid could cease if the deal for Choeung Ek was taken from JC Royal, whose representative Koji Yamamoto was named on a copy of the concession agreement with Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema.

The Japanese company was fa­vored over other foreign com­pa­nies because of the Ja­pan­’s long-standing benevolence to Cam­bo­dia, the vice governor added.

Japanese Embassy officials did not have immediate comment when contacted Tuesday eve­ning.

On Monday, DC-Cam issued an appeal for foreign governments, or­ganizations and individuals to provide any material they may pos­sess on the Democratic Kam­pu­­chea per­iod which could be used at a fu­ture Khmer Rouge tribunal.

“Several governments had em­bassies in Cambodia during De­mo­cratic Kampuchea, while others followed events from em­bassies in Thai­­land, China, Viet­nam and Laos,” Youk Chhang wrote. “We hope that all these governments will search their diplomatic, mil­itary and intelligence (including signals in­tel­ligence) archives for materials that might be useful in es­tablishing a full legal and historical accounting.”

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