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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Japanese ship, officers arrive in Cambodia on medical aid mission+

PHNOM PENH, Japanese medical officers arrived in the Cambodian port city of Sihanoukville on Tuesday aboard a Japanese maritime Self-Defense Force transport ship on the second leg of a two-nation mission to participate in a U.S. Navy-led medical aid program in Asia.

While in Cambodia, they will take part in medical aid activities for about two weeks under former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's "Fraternity Boat" initiative.

The 8,900-ton MSDF transport ship Kunisaki, with roughly 200 crew members on board, arrived together with the U.S. Navy hospital ship Mercy on Tuesday morning, an official of the Japanese Embassy in Cambodia said.

The embassy said doctors and Japanese Self-Defense Forces personnel will conduct medical and cultural activities with U.S. Navy personnel and nongovernmental groups as part of this year's Pacific Partnership program.

Prior to its mission in Cambodia, the Kunisaki took part in the Pacific Partnership program in Vietnam.

The U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh said the Pacific Partnership 2010 is the fifth in a series of annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance endeavors aimed at strengthening regional partnerships and increasing navy-to-navy contact with host and partner nations, U.S. interagency groups, and international humanitarian and relief organizations.

Pacific Partnership 2010 brings together military medical and engineering professionals from Australia, Canada, France, Japan, and Britain, according to U.S. Embassy officials.

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