Japan to Open ‘State-of-the-Art’ Hospital in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh could have its first international-standard medical facility if a Japanese plan to construct a critical-care center equipped with state-of-the-art medical technologies and highly trained doctors, nurses and surgeons goes ahead, according to local officials and Japanese government documents.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the project during his visit to Cambodia last month, but provided very few details other than that the hospital would be “state-of-the-art.”

While the location of the hospital, which will be part of the Japan-based Kitahara International Hospital group, which is known for its neurosurgical treatment, is not yet known, it is expected to open in 2015, and will be funded mostly by private investors.

According to documents available on Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry website, the hospital project appears to be part of the country’s initiative to internationalize its medical services, known as Medical Excellence Japan.

“We aim to provide the world with a superior healthcare system, medical technologies, and hospital medical services, all of which Japan has, to improve the level of healthcare in Japan and overseas,” the documents state.

Titled Internationalization of Medical Services Initiatives and dated April 2013, one of the documents lists 11 countries, including Cambodia, as targets for research on the international expansion of Japanese medical devices and services.

The initiative is “to establish Cambodia’s first critical care center; subsequently, stages construction of hospitals providing advanced medical services and facilities for developing medical human resources,” according to the documents.

The documents also include an “idea map” of project activities that includes local Cambodia hospitals and Kitahara International Hospital exchanging physicians, nurses and other hospital staff for training in clinical settings.

Japanese oil and gas engineering company JGC Corp. is listed as providing the project’s “construction and business feasibility assessment,” and Japanese research firm Sojitz Corp./Sojitz Research Institute Ltd. is named as conducting “physical distribution and business feasibility assessment” for the project.

Japan’s Nikkei newspaper reported last month that JGC had entered an agreement to construct the hospital in a possible attempt to position itself in regards to Cambodia’s offshore oil and gas developments.

Sok Chenda, secretary-general for the Council for the Development of Cambodia, said last week that he was familiar with the Kitahara hospital project.

“What they have in Japan, they want to open the same in Cambodia. It will focus on neurosurgery and heart disease as well as all emergencies,” he said.

Japanese Embassy officials have repeatedly declined to comment on the hospital.

Last December, Kitahara opened a clinic in Phnom Penh that mostly offers consultations.

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