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Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen asked Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Tuesday not to cut Japan’s official development assistance to Cambodia when Tokyo reviews aid as part of its fiscal reforms, a Japanese official said.

In a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence, Hun Sen told Koizumi that although he is aware of Japan’s difficult financial situation, Cambodia still needs help from the international community.

Koizumi, whose government is reviewing its ODA to poor countries, replied that Tokyo plans to study ways to offer cooperation that will help countries effectively, the official said.

In the meeting, Hun Sen outlined six areas where he hopes to receive Tokyo’s assistance. They include expenses for cutting its military personnel, funds to promote administrative reforms and aid to conduct the country’s first local elections next year.

Hun Sen met Koizumi after attending the opening of an international meeting of donors to Cambodia.

At the two-day conference, sponsored by the World Bank, participants are expected to agree to provide Cambodia with some $500 million in aid.

Japan is expected to pledge some $100 million — the largest portion of the aid package — of which $15 million will be used to help Cambodia slash its military personnel from 131,500 to 100,000 by 2002, government sources said.

The conference, the third of its kind to be held in Tokyo, involves the participation of Japan, the United States, 14 other donor countries and seven international agencies.

The latter include the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank.

Cambodia will also use the aid package to promote fiscal and administrative reforms and for road construction, the sources said.

Donor nations held the first conference on aid to Cambodia in 1996, with a view to supporting its nation-building program. Similar conferences have been held annually since then, with the exception of 1998.

Hun Sen arrived in Japan last Wednesday for a nine-day visit. He attended an international conference on the future of Asia last week and traveled to Oita Prefecture over the weekend.

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