Provision of Japanese-made Ballot Boxes and other Election equipment to Cambodia
(“The Economic and Social Development Programme” Grant Aid)
1. On February 21 (same day local time), Mr. Hidehisa Horinouchi, Japan’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, held a signing of an exchange of notes with H.E. Mr. Prak Sokhonn, Senior Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, on grant aid (The Economic and Social Development Programme; grant amount of 800 million yen), in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia.
2. Japan has deeply contributed to Cambodia’s development. Japan got involved in the international efforts to conclude the Paris Peace Agreements in order to end the civil war in Cambodia. The Peace keeping Operation in Cambodia was the first PKO mission that the Japanese Government dispatched its personnel in a full-fledged manner. We also supported the subsequent reconstruction of Cambodia. When the first national election by Cambodians was held in 1998, Japan provided approximately 12,000 Japanese-made ballot boxes via the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as emergency grant to contribute to its smooth implementation.
3. Amid the rising tension over domestic affairs in Cambodia, the largest opposition party was dissolved last November. In this regard, it is vital to conduct the general election this July in a way that appropriately reflects the will of the people.
4. In regional elections which were held last June, Japan contributed to enhancing the capability of the election process by providing assistance to voter registration and operations on casting and counting votes. This cooperation contributed to the credibility of the election process. In order to carry out elections in a way that reflects the will of the people, it is essential to improve the credibility of the election process. On that basis, the provision of ballot boxes and other election equipment this time can be placed in a series of important Japanese assistance to election reform in Cambodia.
5. More than 20 years have passed since the Japanese government provided the ballot boxes in 1998 previously. Today, most of these boxes are still being used without any problems, but the number of polling places has increased to around 22,000 locations so that high quality ballot boxes are needed more to hold elections smoothly. Therefore, Japan will provide Japanese-made ballot boxes and other election equipment to the Royal Government of Cambodia in order to contribute to supporting Cambodia’s economic and social development by promoting the smooth implementation of elections. Since the Japanese-made ballot boxes can be utilized for a long time in future elections, Japan also hopes that these ballot boxes will perform an essential role in establishing democracy over the mid-long term through elections in Cambodia.
6. This programme is a part of the initiative announced by Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, at the Seventh Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting in July 2015, aiming to provide 750 billion yen of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Mekong region over the next three years (PDF).
[Reference] Japan-Cambodia Relations (Basic Data)
The Kingdom of Cambodia covers an area of approximately 181,000 square kilometers (roughly 0.48 times the area of Japan). Cambodia has a population of 15.58 million people (World Bank, 2015), and a gross national income (GNI) per capita of 1,140 U.S. dollars (World Bank, 2016).