PHNOM PENH - Prime Minister Hun Sen said he regards Japan as a model for his country with respect to strengthening democracy and national development.
In an exclusive interview with Kyodo News on Friday, Hun Sen said, “Japan is a model of democracy that we should learn from and the only suitable country that we could learn from.”
The prime minister made the disclosure when asked how Cambodia will move forward on the path of democracy after his ruling party’s victory in the much-criticized general election in July.
In the election, in which no credible opposition took part, the Cambodian People’s Party won all seats in the National Assembly.
“I always look at a number of developed countries in the region and those around the globe so that I can learn from them the political and economic aspects. Japan, in particular, always retains a strong economy and political stability and is a model of real democracy,” he said.
Hun Sen made the remarks the day before he flew to Japan to attend the Japan-Mekong Summit, which will also be attended by the leaders of Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam.
While praising Japan for the great assistance it extends to his country for economic development and building infrastructure, Hun Sen said he is willing to advance the two countries’ relations up to a “comprehensive strategic cooperation partnership.”
If that materializes, Japan will be the second country to do so with Cambodia after China in 2010. In 2013, Cambodia and Japan entered a “strategic partnership.”
During his five-day stay in Japan, Hun Sen will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at which he plans to discuss economic, political and social issues, focusing on strengthening the two countries’ relations, and promoting trade, investment, and tourism between the two countries.
This year marks the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Cambodia.
Hun Sen will stay in Japan until Wednesday.