CPP and Senate President Chea Sim was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government on Sunday in recognition of his contributions to the strengthening of relations between the two countries.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Mr. Sim, as president of the National Assembly for the People’s Republic of Kampuchea, “actively supported Japan’s diplomatic efforts for a political solution of Cambodia’s conflict by meeting with Japanese high ranking officials frequently,” according to a statement from the Japanese Embassy announcing the decoration.
“Furthermore, he [Mr. Sim] laid the foundation to promote exchange between the Parliaments of the two countries through his five visits to Japan between 1993 and 1999,” the statement continues.
In recent years, Mr. Sim, who is now 81 and rarely seen in public, has taken a less active role in Cambodian politics, though he continues to serve as the president of the ruling party.
He is also well decorated with honorifics bestowed upon him by Cambodia’s government. He is among a select group of CPP officials with the honorific “samdech,” along with Prime Minister Hun Sen, National Assembly President Heng Samrin, Royal Palace Minister Kong Sam Ol and Bun Rany, the prime minister’s wife.
Mr. Sim is also one of a handful of government officials and monks who have been given the honorific “Keti Banditt,” which translates roughly to “glorious person of genius.”
Mr. Sim’s deputy chief of cabinet, Yim Leang, said that he had been informed of the award from Japan, adding that Mr. Sim planned to take part in a ceremony at the Japanese Embassy on November 28.
Takayoshi Kuromiya, counselor at the Japanese Embassy, said that the award was given to Mr. Sim as part of the Japanese Embassy’s celebration of 60 years of diplomatic relations with Cambodia.
“In order to celebrate this commemorative time, Japan has been preparing various events and programs including this decoration [of Mr. Sim] for a long time,” Mr. Kuromiya said in an email.