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Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday asked Japan to provide $15 million toward the country’s efforts to cut its military and provide discharged soldiers with education and job-training projects.

Hun Sen is in Japan to attend a World Bank-sponsored meeting of aid donors to Cambodia. The meeting will be held today and Wednesday in Tokyo.

During talks with Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka on Monday afternoon, Hun Sen explained that Cambodia is trying to reduce its number of soldiers from 130,000 to 100,000 by 2002, a Foreign Ministry official said.

The move forms part of its nation-building efforts following 20 years of civil war, the official said.

Hun Sen also asked for Japan’s assistance in the spheres of administrative reform, the promotion of information technology, the funding of local elections to be held next year, the building of a national road and the promotion of tourism, according to the official.

Tanaka explained that slashing the overall budget for Japan’s official development assistance constitutes part of the reform agenda of the administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, and indicated that responding to all the requests would be difficult.

She said, however, that Japan is positive about pledging “appropriate” assistance at the donor countries’ meeting, the official said.

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