PHNOM PENH – The first Japanese private hospital opened in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh on this week, with the aim of helping to reduce the flow of Cambodian patients to neighboring countries.
The four-story Sunrise Japan Hospital was opened in the presence of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Japan’s parliamentary vice foreign minister, Kiyoshi Odawara, on Tuesday.
The hospital provides a 52-bed health service with more than 100 members of staff, of which 30 percent are Japanese.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Hun Sen highlighted the significance of having a Japanese hospital in the country, which, he said, will help provide good health services to Cambodians and also bring trust to foreigners visiting the country as investors and tourists.
He added that Japan has contributed a great deal to Cambodia’s development in many fields, including infrastructure, such as bridges and roads, which form part of Japan’s contribution to connectivity between members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Japan-Mekong cooperation, which helps narrow the gaps between ASEAN member states.
Hun Sen said he appreciated the quality of Japanese health care that he had received since 1997 for his glass eye, and that he is seeking an appropriate time to take advantage of newly established direct flights between Phnom Penh and Tokyo to undergo a medical checkup in Japan in the near future.
At the ceremony, Odawara read a statement on behalf of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying the hospital had materialized after Abe and Hun Sen held talks on this issue in 2013.
Abe was quoted as saying “health is one of the major sectors” that Japan has focused on with Cambodia, and . . . the hospital will strengthen relations between the two countries and their people.
Shigemi Kitahara, the founder and adviser to Sunrise Japan Hospital, said, “Our goal is the development of high quality and sustainable medical services in Cambodia.
“The opening of Sunrise Japan Hospital is the starting point of this long journey,” he added.
According to Kitahara, the hospital will offer emergency medical treatment for brain and heart disorders, injuries from traffic accidents and medical checkups, and will continue working toward the establishment of general hospital services, including obstetrics, pediatrics and rehabilitation and their associated information technology and education systems.
It is estimated that some 150,000 Cambodians travel abroad annually for health treatment, spending around $600 million.
Vietnam and Thailand are their main destinations, especially for middle-class patients, while Singapore is the third option, mainly for wealthier patients and senior government officials and leaders, including Hun Sen.