The labour ministries of Cambodia and Japan yesterday agreed to cooperate on a wide range of issues, including training and recruitment of Cambodian workers by Japanese firms.
A comprehensive deal was signed by the two countries during an official visit led by Labour Minister Ith Samheng.
“We are grateful for the signing of the memorandum of understanding and appreciate that our Japanese friends tried very hard to improve the law relating to their training programmes to make it easier for Cambodian trainees when working in Japan,” Mr Samheng said.
He said the latest agreement heralded a new era for Cambodian workers and will be implemented from November 1 this year.
The two ministries will work together to approve the choice of trainees, the work they do and resolve any disputes that might arise, for instance if they were to suddenly vanish.
Discussions will also be held between the Association of Training Courses on Technical Skills and the Cambodian Embassy in Japan regarding the technical content of the training programmes.
The deal on trainees will be valid for five years. Cambodia is the second country after Vietnam to have entered into such an agreement with Japan.
Moeun Tola, an executive director of rights group Central, said he was afraid the Cambodian trainees in Japan would be mistreated. He warned they might do the same work as local employees but receive lower salaries because of their trainee status.
Mr Samheng said there are currently 5,000 Cambodian trainees in Japan, mainly in agriculture and construction.