Remarks by H.E. Dr. SOK An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers At the JAPAN – CAMBODIA KIZUNA FESTIVAL 2016

- Excellency Yuji Kumamaru, Ambassador of Japan to Cambodia;
- Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Distinguished National and International Guests;
- Ladies and Gentlemen and Beloved Students;
I have the pleasure to be here again in the opening ceremony of the JAPAN – CAMBODIA KIZUNA FESTIVAL 2016 to celebrate the colorful cultural exchanges as well as the achievements in the friendly relationships and cooperation between the peoples of Japan and Cambodia. May I express my sincere thanks to the Embassy of Japan, in particular, Excellency Yuji Kumamaru, Ambassador of Japan, and the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Centre (CJCC) for continuing to organize this extremely meaningful festival. Certainly, it is my great pleasure to be a part of this exciting event with many young people from Cambodia and Japan.

To me, the Kizuna Festival is a very significant cultural exchange event, as it brings together many artists and young people who love to dance, sing, play music and sometimes to taste different food together. This is a great opportunity for young artists of both countries, as it not only allows them to show their talents to the spectators, but also provides them with various benefits from the cultural inter-relationships. Furthermore, through such rich exchanges, this event helps us all to understand the values underlying our respective cultures, as they have evolved over time into the vibrant life and civilization of the nations.

It is inspiring to note that, since its inception in 2012, each year the Kizuna Festival marks a highly successful event in Cambodia’s cultural calendar with various, colorful cultural features. I believe it must be a great challenge for the organisers as well as for the artists themselves to put all their energy and collaborative work together since each of them has its own approach, technique and style. And thanks to their great efforts, the festival has brought the artists and us together this year again, so that we are able to share their performances, traditional costumes and food, as well as modern music and cultural events right here at the CJCC. Particularly, in this year’s event, a special group of artists has been invited to perform “AWA ODORI”, the largest, unique dance festival in Japan. We are very fortunate to witness such exceptional performance tonight.
- Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
- Dear Students
Taking this opportunity, I would like to briefly highlight the great achievements in our friendly relationship and cooperation in various fields.

Japan and Cambodia have a great passion for the protection and preservation, as well as the promotion of heritage and culture. We all know that Japan has long been one of our key partners in the protection and conservation of cultural heritage in Cambodia. Indeed, Japanese partner institutions have been working at such marvelous Khmer monument as Angkor Wat, Bayon, Banteay Kdei, and Preah Vihear, just to name a few. I must stress that the achievements of the Japanese partner institutions at these sites are quite remarkable. Japan has also served as the co-chair with France for the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (commonly known as ICC-Angkor) since its establishment in 1993, contributing to an extraordinary international dialogues on the preservation and management of World Heritage sites.
And today, I am pleased to share with you two important pieces of news:
First, a Japan-APSARA team will soon start another phase of the project for the restoration of the Western Causeway of Angkor Wat (the main bridge to the entrance of Angkor Wat).
Second, in addition to JICA, a second governmental institution, the Japan Foundation, which plays a pivotal role in the development of culture and education in terms of research and human resources development, has just opened its office in Phnom Penh.

In the area of economic and development cooperation, Japan has been one of Cambodia’s leading partners. We all remember the last year’s opening of the TSUBASA Bridge crossing the Mekong at Neak Loeung in Prey Veng province, presided over by Prime Minister, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, which is another landmark in the long-lasting friendship and cooperation between the two nations. This bridge, like those Japan has built for us in Phnom Penh and Kampong Cham, greatly facilitates our national land traffic and economic development.

Later this year, we will certainly see the launch of direct flights between Phnom Penh and Tokyo, which will facilitate the increasing flow of tourists between the two countries.
I am confident that the already close relations between Japan and Cambodia will continue to grow even stronger in the future in many more areas.

Before concluding, I wish to thank once again the organisers and the artists from both Cambodia and Japan for your hard work and close cooperation in staging this unique event. I also wish to thank excellencies, distinguished guests, dear youth, ladies and gentlemen for your presence and support, which give a special meaning to this Opening Ceremony and to the following 4 days, an exciting moment for collective enjoyment.
Finally, I wish this 2016 Kizuna Festival a great success and I am confident that the peoples of Cambodia and Japan will learn and understand more of each other’s cultures, values and societal norms through this event.
I wish excellencies, ladies and gentlemen good health, every success in your endeavour and happiness.
I now declare the Japan - Cambodia KIZUNA FESTIVAL 2016 open.

Thank you!

Source :

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