Donor nations concluded a two-day conference on aid to Cambodia in Tokyo on Wednesday with combined pledges of $560 million, conference officials said.

Japan pledged the largest portion of the aid package, $118 million, partly to help Cambodia reach its goal of slashing its troops by 31,500 to reach a total of 100,000 by next year, they said.

Cambodia reaffirmed its commitment to political and economic reform, including in its judicial system and fiscal policy, as well as the military cuts.

This show of willingness to reform is increasingly necessary for Cambodia, as major donors are seeking to cut their official development assistance, officials said.

On Tuesday, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen asked Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi not to cut assistance to Cambodia when the government reviews foreign aid as part of fiscal reform.

The World Bank-sponsored conference, the third of its kind held in Japan, also involves the United States, 14 other donor countries and seven international agencies, including the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank.

Donor nations held the first conference on aid to Cambodia in 1996 with a view to supporting the reconstruction of the war-ravaged nation. Conferences have since been held yearly, except for 1998. The next meeting is scheduled to be held in Phnom Penh.

Hun Sen calls on LDP

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday asked the Liberal Democratic Party to ensure Japan maintains its current level of official development assistance to the country, party members said.

Hun Sen asked LDP Secretary General Taku Yamasaki not to reduce the amount, saying Cambodia wants to set an example to the world in transparency and efficiency in the use of financial aid, Yamasaki’s aides said.

The meeting at a Tokyo hotel followed Hun Sen’s meeting Tuesday with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, in which the Cambodian leader made a similar request.

Yamasaki was quoted as telling Hun Sen that Japan recognizes Asian countries as important neighbors, and Cambodia has been enduring hardships.

He told Hun Sen there will be little change in Japan’s policy of deeming Cambodia a country in special need of support, the aides said.

Japan supplied $50.87 million in ODA to Cambodia in 1999, according to the Foreign Ministry.

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