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Japan teachers, CMAC win honours

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CMAC deminer clearing landmines in Battambang province early this year. CMAC

Japan teachers, CMAC win honours

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan has announced that the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) and two Japanese nationals have been recognised for their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and the Kingdom.

The Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendations are awarded every year to individuals and groups making outstanding achievements in international fields.

The announcement of this year’s recipients comes as Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa attends the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings chaired by Cambodia in Phnom Penh.

The embassy of Japan in Cambodia said on August 4 that the two outstanding individuals who received appreciation letters were Oni Hifumi, the president of International Japanese Culture Institution, and Fukuda Tomohiko, a Japanese lecturer who has contributed to promoting Japanese language education in Cambodia.

CMAC received an appreciation letter for its contributions to “promoting international cooperation in the technical cooperation field in Cambodia”.

The embassy expressed its gratitude to the recipients who have contributed to the promotion of friendly relations between Japan and Cambodia and said it looked forward to their continued success, while an award ceremony will be organised soon.

According to the embassy, Hifumi has contributed to promoting Japanese language education in Cambodia since 1995, when she established the Japanese Language School in Siem Reap province.

Hifumi has been engaged in Japanese language education and cultural exchange for nearly 30 years and taught more than 3,000 students, many of whom have gone on to work in various fields such as education, nursing and tourism.

The school also provides human resource development and employment support for children and young people without access to education or jobs.

Tomohiko was in 1997 dispatched to the Royal University of Phnom Penh as a Japanese language teacher with the JICA Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV), where he worked to promote and develop Japanese language education, which had been suspended since 1974.

When this came to an end, he continued to be actively involved in Japanese language education in Cambodia at several institutions, including the Department of Japanese at the Royal University of Phnom Penh’s renowned Institute of Foreign Languages, the Research and Education Center for Japanese Law (CJL) and the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center (CJCC).

CMAC, the largest national demining organisation in Cambodia, was established in 1992. With 2,301sqkm of land contaminated with mines and other explosive remnants of war having been cleared, CMAC contributed to over 55 per cent of the total.

With the support from the Japanese government, CMAC has worked to provide training courses to demining experts from Colombia, Angola, Iraq and Laos under the South-South Cooperation Program.

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