Prime Minister Requests Japan’s Funds For Phnom Penh Skytrain

Prime Minister Hun Sen is expected to request $800 million from Japan during a visit there this week to fund the construction of an elevated rail system running from Phnom Penh’s center to the capital’s airport, an official said on Monday.

Transport Ministry spokesman Var Sim Sorya said he only knew that the Japan International Cooperation Agency, or JICA, would manage the project, and it had already conducted studies for two to three years.

Mr. Hun Sen arrived in Japan on Sunday for a three-day visit, during which he will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and ink agreements on foreign assistance from Japan, according to a post on the premier’s Facebook page from Sunday.

Japan is offering Cambodia $35 million in grant aid for a flood protection program in Cambodia and improvements to Phnom Penh’s drainage system, as well as an approximately $209 million loan to fund the development of a new container port terminal in Sihanoukville, a Foreign Affairs Ministry statement released last week said.

In response to Cambodia’s request, “JICA is conducting the feasibility study on the urban transportation in Phnom Penh, including social and environmental assessments, to consider the possibility of providing assistance for the construction of a so-called skytrain,” Kaori Tanabe, first secretary at the Japanese Embassy in Phnom Penh, said in an email on Monday.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry could not be immediately reached last night to confirm whether the two premiers had already met.

(Additional reporting by Matt Surrusco)

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