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Japanese Investors Eye Cambodia

A delegation of Japanese investors plans to visit Cambodia, following a recent trip by Prime Minister Hun Sen to Tokyo where he signed a bilateral investment pact with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Japanese Ambassador Katsuhiro Shinohara said next month a delegation would arrive to study Cambodia's investment climate. If they like what they see, he said, Cambodia could reap Japanese investment for the next 30 years.

"Japanese companies usually do a lot of research before investing," Shinohara said through an interpreter. "Please be patient and wait, because after the research proves to be good, and we decide to invest, it is like a promise to invest and cooperate with Cambodia for 20, 30 years."

Japan is the country's largest donor, but falls behind China, South Korea and Malaysia when it comes to investment.

Shinohara said Japanese investment in Cambodia totaled about $22 million. Aid pledged this year alone was about $112 million.

Cambodia saw a rapid rise in foreign investment following peace accords in 1991, but businesses fled or folded in the wake of the 1997 coup. Since then, investment has risen again, with last year's nearly 11 percent economic growth rate astounding economists.

Opposition Sam Rainsy Party Secretary-General Mu Sochua welcomed a visit from the Japanese.

"We especially applaud the Japanese investors, who are honest and law-abiding people," she said.