Japanese Hospital Opens for Tourists
At the unveiling of the new Japanese-owned Sunrise Hospital in Phnom Penh, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that such tourist-focused medical facilities would boost confidence in visitors and investors to Cambodia.
Mr. Hun Sen described the $35 million hospital in Chrouy Changvar district, which on its website says that it offers “high-standard medical services” led by Japanese doctors and staff, as an important step in improving foreign perceptions of the country.
“Building this hospital will affect other sectors including tourism, investment and research in Cambodia,” he said.
He added that many people looking to visit Cambodia, or invest here, ask about the quality of the hospitals in the country, and that Sunrise Hospital should help to alleviate any concerns.
The prime minister himself travels to Singapore for his medical needs.
Japan is the third-largest investor in Cambodia, behind China and South Korea, and since 1994 has contributed to the development of the country’s infrastructure, aviation, tourism and healthcare.
Last month, direct flights between Phnom Penh and Tokyo were restarted, and construction began of the second Japanese-owned hotel in Phnom Penh.
Yuriko Kishi, deputy director of the Japan External Trade Organization, told Khmer Times yesterday that investment interest in Cambodia is increasing in Japan, due its location between Thailand and Vietnam. She said that Japanese companies were looking to manufacture goods here for regional distribution, as well as for local consumption.
“However, it will take another 15 years or so before Cambodian consumption grows large enough so that Japanese companies will be able to make use of the full potential of economic opportunities in Cambodia,” Ms. Kishi noted.
Ms. Kishi said that what made Cambodia attractive to Japanese investors was the low labor costs compared to Vietnam or Thailand, and more liberal investment policies than Myanmar or Laos.
Ms. Kishi said that the current high electricity prices still presented a problem to investing in manufacturing, leaving the labor intensive garment sector the most attractive industry. Infrastructure and administrative procedures both need improving as well, in order to boost the attractiveness of Cambodia to Japanese investors.
According to data from the Council for Development of Cambodia, cumulative investment since 1994 from Japan reached more than $400 million as of June last year. Cambodia’s exports to Japan rose 32.7 percent to $565 million in this first half of this year, from $425 million over the same period last year. On the other hand, Cambodia’s imports from Japan rose only marginally by 0.9 percent to $134 million in the first half of the year.
Japanese tourist arrivals to Cambodia presently rank seventh, rising marginally in the first half of this year by 0.3 percent, to 90,877.
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