BEPPU, OITA PREF. – Amid the ongoing deterioration of democracy, human rights and media freedom in Cambodia and the country’s rising diplomatic tension with the European Union, Japan still maintains its low-profile diplomacy toward Cambodia. On March 12, the Japanese government invited 10 “young politics-oriented Cambodians” to pay a week-long official visit to Japan. This was the second time, following another such visit Japan organized in December.
According to a press release by the Japanese Embassy in Phnom Penh, “young politics-oriented Cambodians” were invited, but they were not ordinary youths. Those who took part in the recent visit were core members of Cambodian political parties. Among the invitees were Meas Sophorn, under secretary of state of the Ministry of Information, and Vann Chantho, under secretary of state of the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, who are rising politicians in the ruling Cambodian Peoples Party.