Mon, 18 June 2012 The Phnom Penh Post
Great business and symbolic significance will be attached to the visit of Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito, the heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne, when he arrives in Cambodia next Thursday, June 27.
This is the first such visit to Cambodia for the heir apparent to the oldest continuing hereditary monarchy in the world and probably the first visit by a member of Japan's royal family.
Dr Hajime Fujiwara, a geologist, former Texas oil man and author of 50 books, told me about Crown Prince Naruhito's visit. He says Crown Prince Naruhito is very interested in water resources and the environment, not only for Japan, but for the whole world.
Fujiwara says the Japanese people were touched by outpourings of support from the Cambodian people following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, which caused the horrific Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the effects of which will be with us for generations.
Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen offered immediate assistance to Japan as did many other Cambodians.
These gestures from Cambodia, traditionally the recipient of aid from Japan, resonated with the Japanese people.
The Cambodian people told the Japanese people to please use the aid money Cambodia would have gotten for their own people who were suffering as a result of the disaster.
The magnificence of this gesture is why Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito is coming next week.
My own friend Hong Ly, whose family owns the Prince D'Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap, pledged a dollar from each room stay at his hotel for a period of time and made good on his promise, giving the donation of thousands of dollars, on his own accord, through theJapanese Embassy in Phnom Penh. For Hong Ly, the matter was practical, logical and humanistic: so many of his family's hotel customers were Japanese, coming to see Angkor Wat.
Japan reopened its embassy in Phnom Penh in 1992. Through entities like JICA, the Asian Development Bank, other development organisations and private companies, Japan has been steadily involved in Cambodia's reconstruction.
Japan provides funding for the Khmer Rouge trials, restoration works at Bayon Temple and many other projects helpful to Cambodians.
Japan's presence here can be seen in Phnom Penh Commercial Bank, the SBI Group,Maruhan Japan Bank and of course the traditional brand names of cars and motorcycles like Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki. Subaru was formerly an aircraft company, converted to make cars, which is reflected their focus on lightweight aluminum-block engines. Subaru is the Japanese name for the Pleiades star cluster, a famous group of blue luminous stars in the Taurus constellation.
Another Japanese company thriving in Cambodia is Minebea, a motor-manufacturing company which chose the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone as its location.
Speaking of thriving, Dr Fujiwara, a geologist and visionary scientist, is a kind of technological godfather for what has become the "Thrive movement" which has a film and new liberating technology centered around some of Fujiwara's pioneering thought about the "torus" geometric figure which he sees as the key to solving mankind's problems.
Although Dr Fujiwara doesn't necessarily agree with everything the "Thrive movement" people say, he's glad they've incorporated his torus "spherical cosmos model" into their program.
This writer was born in Japan, in 1961, during my father's service there with the US Army. I'm proud of my birthplace and have in me respect and compassion for Japanese traditions, excellence and contributions to the world.
To contact the reporter on this story: Stuart Alan Becker