Mr. Kazuo Chujo, Counselor of the Embassy of Japan in Cambodia,

Ms. Midori Miyazaki, Representative of Dr Haruhisa Handa,

H.E. Samraing Kamsan, Undersecretary of State for Culture and Fine Arts,

Dr. Y Ratana, Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Acting Director of the Cambodia-Japan Society,


Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,


It is indeed a great honor for me to be here today to launch the establishment of the Cambodia-Japan Society at the University of Cambodia. I would like to put on record that this is the initiative of Dr. Haruhisa Handa, Chairman of the International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC) and Chancellor of The University of Cambodia. Despite the fact that he very much wanted to be here with us at the launch of the Cambodia-Japan Society, he could not join us due to his other important engagements in Japan. But he has sent his representative, Ms. Midori Miyazaki, who will speak a little later at this Special Launch of the Cambodia-Japan Society.


I also wish to underline the following points related to the Cambodia-Japan Society:


Firstly, let us discuss the rationale for setting up the CJS. With the initiative of Dr. Haruhisa Handa, and on the auspicious occasion of the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Cambodia and Japan, the University of Cambodia has set up the Cambodia-Japan Society as an important program of the University The Society aims to contribute to the strengthening of Cambodia-Japan relations and cooperation, by focusing on the “social dimension” between the two countries.


Government-to-Government cooperation has been expanded and enhanced with the official visit of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen to Japan in June 2007. At that time, Samdech Prime Minister and His Excellency Shinzo Abe, former Prime Minister of Japan, met in the spirit of what the two leaders called the “new partnership” between the two countries. This renewed and strengthened relationship was a result of the growth and expansion of cooperation, friendly ties, and warm friendship.


Those who have been monitoring the cordial relations between Phnom Penh and Tokyo, will be familiar with the framework within which the following diplomatic developments have flourished.


·        Bilateral Relations;


·        Sub Regional Schemes (for example, CLV + Japan, CLMV, Japan-Mekong Foreign Ministers’ Meeting);


·        Regional Cooperation (for example, ASEAN + Japan, ASEAN Plus Three, including Japan; the East Asia Summit; ASEAN Regional Forum); and…


·        International Collaboration on a range of mutually beneficial schemes.


The “Social Dimension” of cooperation is also a matter of great significance for the two countries and there is a need to ensure a balanced and inclusive plan for cooperation between the two sides. This shall be achieved through the Society’s attention to matters such as…


·        The exchange of youth, interested working adults, academics and representatives of civil society.


·        The promotion of dialogue and consultation to cultivate a better understanding and foster closer friendship between the  peoples of the two nations; and


·        The development of the learning spirit, one that is sincerely fascinated by the study of culture, heritage, tradition and history, in this age of globalization.


It is for these reasons then that the University of Cambodia has established the Cambodia-Japan Society, in order to serve the needs and interests of the “social dimension” between the peoples of the two countries. As we have seen, the Society will also play a part in supporting the process of integration of the ASEAN and East Asian Communities.


Next, let us briefly turn our attention to the objectives of the Cambodia-Japan Society, which are as follows:


·        To promote constructive dialogue and consultation on many issues of concern to both Cambodia and Japan in a wide range of areas, from economics to education, from security to functional cooperation;


·        To promote the exchange of people from a broad spectrum, such as youth, academics, students, members of civil society and the private sector;


·        To promote better understanding, friendship and appreciation of each other’s culture; and


·        To contribute to the building and strengthening of Cambodia-Japan ties, friendship, cooperation and partnership.


The Cambodia-Japan Society hopes to undertake the following activities throughout the year:


Our first Aim is to convene an annual Cambodia-Japan Forum on topics such as “Cambodia-Japan Relations: Forging a New Partnership”;


Second, we will organize a series of Cambodia-Japan Roundtable Business Discussions;


Third, we will hold the Distinguished Japan Lecture Series to promote a better understanding and great appreciation of Japanese culture;


Our fourth intention is to offer a Japanese-Language Training Program to students and the community at large;


Fifth, we will set up “The Japan Corner” at the Toshu Fukami Library in order to provide access to the well chosen “Japanese Collection” of books, periodicals and magazines, as well as to provide information on Japan;


Sixth, we intend to publish the Quarterly Cambodia-Japan Newsletter to promote the exchange of views by all concerned through the medium of writing;


Seventh, the Society will serve as a forum or channel for bringing together all people who support Cambodia-Japan cooperation and partnership;


Eighth, The Society will invite people to share their experiences of and insights into Cambodia and Japan through the organizing of a series of the issue-specific workshops; and


Lastly, the Society will promote a greater understanding of challenges and opportunities facing contemporary Japan through the use of broadcast media available to the University of Cambodia. “Understanding Japan Today” will be a radio program on Radio Southeast Asia.


In short, I hope that the Cambodia-Japan Society at the University of Cambodia will be able to work closely with the Embassy of Japan and other interested parties.


Finally, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to Mr. Kazuo Chujo for his presence and participation in this launch of the Cambodia-Japan Society, representing His Excellency Shinohara, Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Cambodia. I hope to invite both Ambassador Shinohara and Mr. Kazuo Chujo back to the University of Cambodia to give their important and highly anticipated lectures. At the same time, I wish to thank Dr Handa for all his support in the establishment of the CJS.


Thank you.