With the number of Japanese companies settling in the kingdom and creating jobs markedly on the rise, Prime Minister Hun Sen reminded Japanese businesses yesterday of the important contribution they make to the local economy and asked them to keep investments into the country flowing.

Mr Hun Sen spoke during a meeting with a delegation of Japanese businessmen headed by Chang-Woo Han, chairman of Maruhan Group, which recently acquired Sathapana Microfinance Institution.

The prime minister urged Mr Han to continue to expand the operations of his business in the kingdom, pointing out the tremendous benefits to the local economy and to Cambodian society of Japanese investment.

“I asked Mr Abe to encourage Japanese investors to explore possibilities in our aviation sector by creating more direct flights between Cambodian and Japan, as well as to consider investing in local infrastructure,” the premiere said, referring to his August trip to Japan where he met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

During the encounter with the Cambodian leader, Mr Han announced plans to build a 22-storey building for his bank on Phnom Penh’s Norodom Boulevard next year, which will be completed by 2020 and worth about $60 million.

Maruhan Group has $120 million in assets in the kingdom and 168 branches nationwide. It employs about 4,300 people, taking 15 percent of the pie in the local banking sector, according to the bank’s representatives.

According to the CDC, Japanese companies are now involved in 115 different projects in the country, which in total are worth $1 billion and have created 36,000 jobs.