Japan To Help Pay for Route 1 Reconstruction

Japanese Prime Minister Ju­ni­chiro Koizumi announced at a news conference with Prime Minister Hun Sen Tues­day that he would help refurbish National Route 1 , officials said Wednes­day.

The Japanese contribution to the road project, which would start after a study by Japan is completed, would run from Phnom Penh to Neak Leung, Japanese Ambassador Gotaro Ogawa said Wednesday.

An Asian Development Bank-funded project is working on completing the remaining section from Neak Leung to the Cambodian-Viet­namese border.  “National Road 1 linking Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City is one of the most im­portant [transportation links],” Ogawa said.

There are no estimates of how much the Japanese share of the project will cost or when the study will be complete. But Oga­wa said Japan is committed to the project. He also said Japan is con­sidering building a bridge over the Mekong River, linking Kan­dal province and Prey Veng province at Neak Leung.

Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara praised the project on Wednesday, saying it would benefit Cambodians greatly.

“This is good for Cambodia be­cause the road link from Phnom Penh to Neak Leung to the border is currently no good,” Chea Sophara said.“It would be good for the Cambodian people and for transportation.”

Ouk Cham, undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, also commended Japan’s commitment, saying that Koizumi’s promise was a “great benefit to come out of the Asean Summit.”

Route 1 has suffered from flooding during the rainy season, at times making transport on the road impossible.

The ADB portion of the project is estimated at $195.5 million—$50.7 million in Cambodia and $144.8 million in Vietnam, with the ADB loaning the two governments about $140 million.


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