Your Excellency Fumiaki Takahashi, Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Cambodia; Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, I am very pleased and honored to address this opening of the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center, here at the Royal Phnom Penh University.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Japanese government for the cooperation and support in the establishment of the Cambodian-Japan Cooperation Center (CJCC), which will play an important role in a quality and highly qualified human resource development.
The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) highly values the key role and contribution of Japan in the rehabilitation and development of Cambodia. Regionally, Japan is our key dialogue and economic partner especially within ASEAN+3 and AFTA frameworks. We are very much looking forwards to an East Asia community where Japan plays a strategic and bridging role within the region and beyond.
Domestically, we consider Japan a good friend of Cambodia. Japan is our key development partner. Since the process of seeking political solution for Cambodia started late 1980s and early 1990s, the cooperation between Cambodia and Japan was reinstated to build peace and promote economic rehabilitation and development. During national rehabilitation and development, Japan has substantially contributed its support in terms of funding and technical assistance to Cambodia, especially for transport infrastructure, which the RGC’s high priority in implementing poverty reduction strategy. Particularly, since 1993, Japan has helped reconstruct and build many bridges, roads, power and clean water supply, and also many other constructions for education, social activities, health and religion across the country. Those achievements are long lasting and of high quality. Moreover, the RGC has also received support from Japanese NGOs and generous people in terms of schools, hospitals, ponds, and wells so on and so forth. All these have substantially contributed to improving the well-being and dignity of Cambodian people. Thus, Cambodian people will never and ever forget this kindness of Japan that enables Cambodia to rehabilitate and develop its economy and improve their living status. These results are really incredible for us!
Once again, I thank the Government and the People of Japan for helping Cambodia in rehabilitating and developing our country. I especially thank H.E. Fumiaki TAKAHASHI for his prominent role in these efforts and in advancing further the friendship and cooperation between our two countries and people.
I was much excited when listened to the reports made by H.E. Kol Pheng, Senior Minister and Minister of MOEYS, and H.E. Lau Chhiv Eave, Royal University of Phnom Penh’s President, on the role and activities of CJCC and the benefits it brings to our both communities and countries.
The main purpose and role of the CJCC will be to nurture and promote the cooperation and friendship between Cambodia and Japan. Thus, I strongly encourage the center to become a strong resource center in helping Cambodia to explore options for development of the country, especially in learning from the experiences of Japan and other East Asian countries.
You may aware that many countries in Asia have always looked up to Japan to emulate Japan’s modernization. The capability of Japan to re-build the country after the devastated World War II has astonished many countries in the region and around the world. Japanese success in modernization gave them hope, and many countries in Asia strongly believe that they can become as good as Japan.
I would like reiterate the RGC’s long-term strategy in human resource development, whereas “poverty reduction started from building human resource”, that will ensure sustainable development and equitable distribution of fruits from growth. In this sense, The Royal Government has exerted its utmost efforts to reform the education sector. This indeed becomes our effective policy instrument in creating a strong, resilient, educationally advanced, and culturally vibrant society, which is important for improving productivity and competitiveness of our human resource in this globalized world.
In this sense, resource center and education play important role in strengthening students’ responsibility, disciplines and good ethics as well as determination in learning and broadening their knowledge, which are important for them to choose a profession or continue advanced study. Moreover, training and education are important for the society, and this will not only limit to producing human resource for production. Improving capacity and skills of any member of the society will not only help them to increase their capacity to earn more income, but also to raise their status with the society, both their esteem and dignity, through hard works and hard-earning incomes. All these will result in a prosperous society as a nation.
Thus, I am very much appreciating the works of CJCC for its excellent programmes in human resource development, Japanese language, and cultural relations through the many cultural activities and exchange programmes. Moreover, the CJCC has focused on public management skills and development, Japanese management style, business administration and small and medium business management, which are open to government officials, businessmen, entrepreneurs and students. I am sure the center’s activities will substantially contribute to building stronger institutions and capacity for both public and private sectors in Cambodia. We are all amazed by the Japanese management style, which is very effective and internationally recognized.
Moreover, knowing a foreign language and culture is an important instrument to learn experiences from the country. The Japanese language is the bridge to bring our peoples closer. I am also sure it is also the interest for our Japanese friends to learn our Khmer language too while some of them could become Japanese teachers or instructors here at the center. It is a kind of mutual learning. Again, I find it is beneficial for both, Cambodian and Japanese to learn both languages lively from each others. More importantly, languages are the medium to bring about good communication in business and life. It is undeniable that Cambodia becomes an attracting tourist destination for our Japanese friends. In 2005 alone, we welcomed around 15,000 tourists from Japan.
While our Japanese friends are interested in our culture, history and civilization, Cambodians are more than excited by the amazing values of Japanese society. It is important to get to know and understand the culture of the country that we have close relation with, and through cultural activities and exchange here at the center, we both countries and peoples can learn more from each other. Mutual understanding through cultural ties will lead to the success in other fields of cooperation.
In Cambodia, we are strongly committed to learning Japan’s experiences and implement them in our country. As Cambodia is a still a developing country, it is our benefit to look to the experiences of Japan and try to find what is relevant for our model of development. What we have learned from Japan is that the critical ingredients for robust growth include sound policies and efficient institutions to promote sustainable development and exports, high saving rates, substantial investment in human and physical infrastructure, openness to trade and technology, and an efficient system that can ensure service delivery.
Moreover, in order to increase jobs and backward linkages, the Royal Government has also improved its industrial policy by focusing on (1) continuing to develop labor-intensive products, (2) diversifying export products, (3) promoting the development of agribusiness, (4) developing local industries through the promotion of small and medium enterprises, (5) Establishing industrial and export processing zones, (6) increasing the production of goods for import substitution for some products.
In closing, I wish to reiterate my thanks to Japan and its people for their cooperation and assistance provided to Cambodia. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and highly appreciate the management, civil servants, faculty members and all the resource persons of CJCC and Royal University of Phnom Penh for their best efforts in providing quality training. I hope that the CJCC will play a critical role in bringing “Look East” ideas on how to develop Cambodia.
Finally, let me wish you all, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the five gems of the Buddhist wishing. May I now declare the opening of this CJCC.