NEAK, LOEUNG CAMBODIA – Cambodia on Monday inaugurated the Japan-funded Tsubasa Bridge across the Mekong River.
During the opening ceremony in Neak Loeung, about 60 km east of Phnom Penh, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen thanked Japan for its assistance. “Long live the friendship between Cambodia and Japan,” he said.
The suspension bridge, built at a cost of ¥119.4 million, allows National Route 1 to cross the Mekong River. At 2,215 meters, it is the longest bridge in Cambodia.
Calling the bridge a “dream come true,” Hun Sen said it “replaces the costly and time consuming boats and ferries that have been used by Cambodian people as well as regional transport operators for ages.”
Akihiro Nishimura, a senior official in the transport ministry, read out a message from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying the bridge is expected to not only contribute to economic development of Cambodia, but also the wider Mekong region.
He noted that the bridge’s inauguration coincides with the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Japan and the formation of an ASEAN Economic Community.
The bridge in Kandal Province is part of links in the “southern economic corridor,” a roughly 1,000-km-long road linking Ho Chi Minh City with Bangkok via Phnom Penh.
It is the third large-scale bridge donated so far by Japan after the Cambodia-Japan Friendship Bridge built across the Tonle Sap River in Phnom Penh and the Kizuna Bridge across the Mekong in the country’s eastern province of Kompong Cham.
In a gesture of gratitude for Japan’s grant assistance, Cambodia earlier this year issued a new 500 riel banknote carrying images of the two Japan-built bridges that span the Mekong.