PHNOM PENH – A ceremony was held Sunday to open Cambodia’s first dedicated school for Japanese children living in the country.
The Japanese School of Phnom Penh, which consists of an elementary and junior high school, has 21 students and 14 teachers and is about 1.5 km northeast of Phnom Penh International Airport.
According to the education ministry, it is the 89th Japanese school to be opened overseas.
“It is my hope that this school will serve as a bridge between Cambodia and Japan. I want to make it the most exciting school in the world,” Principal Nobuhiro Miura said at the ceremony.
Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron told the gathering he expects to see the school improve the living conditions of Japanese in Cambodia, and to see an increase in local investment by Japanese companies.
Attracted by Cambodia’s rapid economic growth and cheap labor, many of Japan’s firms have established offices and factories there in recent years.
According to the Japanese Embassy in Phnom Penh, the number of Japanese residents in Cambodia now exceeds 2,300, more than double the number five years ago. The number of employees transferred from Japan and who have taken their families with them has also risen, a factor that led to calls for the establishment of a Japanese school.
Groups including the Japanese Business Association of Cambodia set up a Japanese school establishment preparation committee in 2013, and the following year the school was approved by the education ministry in Tokyo. Classes began in April, the same time that the school year traditionally starts in Japan.