The Japanese government has provided $520,847 in aid for a new support project for the restoration of the Bayon Temple in the Angkor Archaeological Park.

The Japan-Apsara Safeguarding Angkor (JASA) project supports the purchase and maintenance of vehicles and heavy machinery, as well as the purchase of equipment for the central spire structure stabilisation work of Bayon Temple, according to an October 19 joint press release by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and the Japanese embassy in Phnom Penh.

The project will contribute to the conservation and restoration of Bayon Temple, one of the most important temples in the park.

Long Bonna Sirivath, secretary of state and spokesman for the culture ministry, said Japan has provided the aid to ensure the precious temple is preserved for future generations.

APSARA National Authority (ANA) spokesman Long Kosal said the restoration of the temple is a project which has the support of the Cambodian government, as well as international partners, especially Japan, which co-chairs the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC-Angkor).

“This work has been ongoing since 1993 and will continue for another 10 years. It is a source of pride and a model for international cooperation,” added Kosal.

He said the work would preserve and add value to the temple, which is an important part of the Kingdom’s rich cultural heritage and recognised internationally.

In 1994, Japan established the Japanese Government Team for Safeguarding Angkor (JSA) – through UNESCO Japan – which was led by Takishi Nakagawa, a professor at Wayida University. The JSA has spent a total of $27 million from Phases I to Phase V to carry out conservation and restoration activities at Angkor Wat and Bayon temples.

Since Phase III, which began in 2005, JSA and ANA have been working together on a joint project known as Japan-Apsara Safeguarding Angkor. In April this year, research for Phase VI began. It focuss on maintaining the balance of the central spire structure of the Bayon Temple.