February 3, 2022
PHNOM PENH – Fumiaki Takahashi, president of the Japan-Cambodia Association (JCA), has requested that Prime Minister Hun Sen build a memorial park in the capital in honour of the two countries’ bonds of friendship.
Takahashi, who formerly served as Japan’s ambassador to Cambodia, made the request during a personal meeting with Hun Sen at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on February 1.
“Takahashi also asked to provide a plot of land for the Cambodian government to build a memorial park for public use to symbolise Cambodia-Japan relations, naming it PKO,” said the premier’s Facebook post following the meeting, an apparent abbreviation of “peacekeeping operations”.
“Hun Sen welcomed and supported the idea of establishing a public park … and naming it PKO Park. He instructed Sok Chenda Sophea – secretary-general of the Council for the Development of Cambodia – to work on this with the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration,” the post said.
Takahashi said he appreciated the Cambodian government’s measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and also asked to bring a group of Japanese investors for a visit in April.
He also requested that Hun Sen look into the possibility of addressing the issue of floods in the Stung Prek Tnaot River.
Hun Sen welcomed the proposals, while also briefing Takahashi about various measures taken by the government to prevent and control Covid-19.
With regard to the Stung Prek Tnaot River flooding issue, Hun Sen instructed Chenda Sophea to work with Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology Lim Kean Hor and other relevant authorities and meet with Takahashi’s delegation to discuss the situation.
Phnom Penh Municipal Hall spokesman Meth Meas Pheakdey could not be reached on February 1 regarding possible locations for the construction of PKO Park.
Cambodian Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun said Japan is one of the Paris Peace Agreements signatories and an important development partner that has supported Cambodia across many sectors over the last 30 years.
He said the PKO Park will become a symbol of relationship between the two countries.
“The establishment of this public park in Phnom Penh will also fulfil the needs of Phnom Penh residents. We see that now Phnom Penh lacks open spaces and green parks for public use for various activities such as exercise,” he said.
Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said it was a good initiative to have a public park that honoured Cambodia-Japan relations because of the tremendous amount of development assistance Japan had rendered Cambodia over the past few decades, starting with Japan playing a vital role in peace building in the Kingdom since the beginning of the 1990s.
“If we talk about remembering our true friends and keep things in perspective for the Cambodian people, Japan has a positive image in the eyes of Cambodians and rightly so. So, I think this memorial park is entirely appropriate and fitting given the closeness of the relationship between our two nations,” Phea said.