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TANAKA Akihiko

April 14, 2015

JICA President Tanaka Visits Cambodia
He celebrates the moment of completion of the southern economic corridor

photoFrom right, Hun Sen, prime minister of Cambodia, Akihiro Nishimura, state minister of Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Akihiko Tanaka, president of JICA and Yuji Kumamaru, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Japan to Cambodia, attend a tape cutting ceremony at Tsubasa Bridge in Cambodia.

During a visit to Cambodia from April 5 to 7, Akihiko Tanaka, president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) attended the opening ceremony of Tsubasa Bridge, which supplied the missing link in the Greater Mekong Region Southern Economic Corridor, tying Bangkok with Ho Chi Minh City.

Tanaka also held talks with dignitaries including Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The bridge was opened through the Japanese grant aid project “the Project for Construction of Neak Loeung Bridge.”

Early on the morning of April 6, Tanaka attended the opening ceremony for the bridge in Neak Loeung, about 60 kilometers southeast of the capital of Phnom Penh. National Road No.1, a main artery in Cambodia, crosses the international Mekong River at Neak Loeung. Since there was no bridge, people had to cross there by ferry, and it was the final missing link (section with no road) in the Greater Mekong Region Southern Economic Corridor tying Bangkok, Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The opening of the bridge eliminated this missing link, and the entire segment from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok was connected over land and the corridor was completed*.

Hun Sen attended the ceremony, along with several Cambodian government dignitaries and officials. Also in attendance was Akihiro Nishimura, state minister of Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Nishimura read a congratulatory address from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Yuji Kumamaru, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Japan to Cambodia, also attended. And despite the ceremony being held early in the morning, some 10,000 locals participated and celebrated the bridge opening.

In his speech at the ceremony, Tanaka said that JICA's cooperation with Cambodia has continued for more than 20 years since peace was achieved and that the project had been conducted through the powerful initiative of the Cambodian government and the unwavering efforts of stakeholders. He also mentioned that Tsubasa Bridge, which is depicted in Cambodia's currency, has become familiar to the Cambodian people, and that not only does it further strengthen the friendship between Cambodia and Japan, but also it will contribute to the comprehensive growth of Cambodia and the region. He concluded by saying that from this viewpoint, he is convinced that as a symbol of peace and growth, the bridge will play a vital role.

In the afternoon, Tanaka held talks with Hun Sen and Aun Pornmoniroth, Cambodian minister of Economy and Finance. They affirmed the importance of the two countries further deepening their close relationship, symbolized by the prior agreement on a "strategic partnership" at a prime ministerial summit. They also discussed initiatives related to the industrial policy recently announced by the Cambodian government.

*In the past, the time required to cross Mekong River by ferry ranged between 30 minutes and one hour including waiting time, and during busy periods, it took seven or eight hours. At night there was no service, so it was impossible to cross. After the completion of Tsubasa Bridge, the time to cross is expected to be shortened to five minutes.


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