Japanese Government Pledges Continued Aid

A Japanese government mission on Thursday reaffirmed its support of Cambodia, especially in infrastructure, agriculture and human resource development after two days of discussions with Cambodian counterparts.

Seiji Kojima, leader of the nine-member team and deputy director general in economic cooperation for Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Japan promised Cambodia to assist in developing roads, a reliable power supply, irrigation systems and government capacity.

Japan also will contribute to the improvement of living conditions to satisfy basic human needs such as health care, education and social infrastructure, he added at a joint press conference at the Center for Development in Cambodia.

But Kojima said assistance from Japan also will depend on Cambodia’s performance in good governance and the improvement of security. Japan also urged Cambodia to further promote reforms in fiscal and public administration, forestry policy and military demobilization, he added.

“We appreciated Cambodian government’s efforts in various reforms. We expect these re­forms will be completed as soon as possible,” Kojima said. “We hope we can make a good recommendation [on future assistance] to the Japanese government when we return to Tokyo.”

Japan is the largest donor coun­try to Cambodia, giving $624 million in grants and technical assistance between 1992 and 1998.

It pledged another $100 million in assistance for 1999 at the Consultative Group meeting in Tokyo in February. Addition­ally, the largest bilateral donor recently gave a $39 million loan to the Sihanoukville Port renovation project.

“Our policy dialogue was successful,” said Finance Minister Keat Chhon, who chaired the discussions. He noted, however, that the financial commitment from Japan for next year hasn’t been finalized.

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