Japan Commemorates Untac Anniversary, Soldier’s Death

A delegation of 20 Japanese police, led by former Japanese police commissioner Setsuo Tan­aka, held a ceremony on Sunday to commemorate the 10th anni­versary of the arrival of Japanese Untac peacekeepers in Cambodia —and the death here of one of their fellow soldiers.  

Masao Takata was the only one of 75 Japanese peacekeepers to die during the Cambodian mission. The peacekeepers arrived in October 1992, and Takata died on May 4, 1993.

“We are here because we are friends of the late Masao Takata, and we want to commemorate our friend’s death,” Tokyo Police Chief Major I Chihashi said at the ceremony at Taing Kasang pagoda in Dangkao district. “We will always remember our good friend…who died in Cambodia.”

Takata died while doing his peacekeeping duty, during an assault on Untac vehicles in a part of then-Banteay Meanchey pro­vince that is now Oddar Mean­chey province.

Tanaka said he and his officers made the trip from Japan to pay their respects to Takata, a well-remembered colleague. He ad­ded that impressive progress had been made in Cambodia since the Untac days.

“I am very happy to see that Cam­bodia is developing very quickly,” he said. “Cambodia was the first country that our police came to for peacekeeping.”

The delegation met with co-Minister of Interior Sar Kheng on Sunday evening to discuss the current security situation, said Katsuhiro Shinohara, counselor at the Japanese Embassy.


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