BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA
Twenty Cambodian political leaders took a one-week trip to Japan to learn good experience between the two countries. The trip took place March 3-12, 2009 and officials from the four Mekong Region countries – Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam – also attended.
Three of the Cambodian delegates were parliamentarians and 17 were officials from youth departments in different political parties, Leng Peng Long, Secretary General of the National Assembly of Cambodia, said.
The Secretary-General said that the visit is a part of the “Mekong-Japan Exchange Year 2009.” They traveled to Japan as part of the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS) Program to share knowledge, developments and working experiences with young Japanese parliamentarians and political party members.
“This is the first time young Cambodian political leaders have received support from the Embassy of Japan in Cambodia under the JENESYS Program,” he said. “I think this program is an example of additional assistance Cambodia has received from Japan. It is very meaningful for Cambodian political leaders, who are the bamboo shoot of the country,” he added.
The JENESYS Program coordinates exchanges between the East Asian and Japanese youth. The program is expected to deepen mutual understanding among young people who will assume important roles in East Asian countries in the future.
“I hope they will exchange their views and experiences and bring home new ideas for developing Cambodia. I also hope they will build a bridge of cooperation and friendship between Cambodia and Japan in future,” he added.
Ly Narun, a member of the National Assembly of Cambodia and the team leader of the Cambodian delegation, said he was proud to have the opportunity to visit Japan and learn about the Japanese experience for Cambodia’s younger parliamentarians.
“I am very impressed with Japan’s JENESYS Program. I think that this program has really contributed to the building of human resources and development in Cambodia,” he said.
“I hope that our delegation will gain more experiences and ideas from young Japanese parliamentarians for the future development of human resources in Cambodia.”
Khlok Sousbolatine, Assistant to the National Assembly of Cambodia’s 2nd Commission on Economy, Finance, Banking and Auditing, participated in the JENESYS Program and said he was honored to visit Japan and exchange views and experiences among young political leaders.
“I am happy with the JENESYS Program because Japan is the most developed and economically powerful country in the world. This will be my first visit and I hope that from it, I will gain more ideas and experiences,” he said. “I plan to share my knowledge and experiences to my colleagues after I return,” he said before his departure.
Katsuhiro Shinohara, the Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia, said that the main purpose of this visitation program is to promote exchanges of views and experiences among young political leaders in Japan and the Mekong region countries for their future cooperation.
The Ambassador said the participants visited Tokyo and attended a meeting and panel discussion with young Japanese parliamentarians and party members. They were divided into two groups of 10 members each. One group visited Gifu Prefecture and the other group visited Okinawa Prefecture to study the council systems and local industries. The participants stayed with local families in those prefectures.
During the Japan-Mekong Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in January 2008, officials decided to celebrate the “Mekong-Japan Exchange Year” in 2009 to promote further exchanges between Japan and Mekong Region countries. Events to be held will include political dialogues, economic events, cultural exchanges, promotion of tourism and youth exchanges.
Ambassador Shinohara said the JENESYS Program is based on former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe’s concept announced at the Second East Asia Summit (EAS) in January 2007. The plan is to implement a 35 billion Yen youth exchange program, inviting about 6,000 young people to Japan, mainly from the EAS member states (ASEAN countries, Australia, China, India New Zealand and the Republic of Korea) every year for five years. His vision is to establish a basis for Asian solidarity by expanding youth exchange.///