//Start by knowing the past to know the present.

Start by knowing the past to know the present.

Last month, Mr. Tezuka Kouji was awarded by the Foreign Minister for his contribution to Cambodia over a long time, and also for his efforts to make up the lost era of Buddhism. But not much is known about a police officer who died on duty while assigned to Ampil as part of a civilian police force to support a general election for Cambodia. As part of a PKO dispatch for the first time in the history of Japan.
23 years ago, on May 4, 1993, members from each nation of UNTAC were attacked by an unidentified armed group on the way back from a conference. Among the five civilian police officers, Mr. Haruyuki Takata was shot dead. At the time, the Japanese government who had dispatched police officers under the cease-fire agreement with the Khmer Rouge, in accordance with the dispatch requirements, continued the mission in the view that the cease-fire agreement hadn’t been broken as the Khmer Rouge denied their involvement.
However, they must have felt uneasy with the strange sight of Khmer Rouge soldiers having guns in the car passing their car heading to the conference, and because they were attacked on the way back. The parties must have thought that certainly, those are the Khmer Rouge.
Thereafter, the members accomplished the mission at the general election without being given an opportunity to speak or say more about it.
However, members who went on the toughest mission in order to build peace in Cambodia and lost their precious lives would keep in mind now the unfocused anger. We can see that it was a tough choice for them to make about the standpoint of Japan on the international contribution at the time, for the attitude against the tragedy that had happened, and the excessive optimism of the government when the cease-fire agreement had been made.
There is a school at Ampil called “Takata Haruyuki School”. It’s a school built by those of his bereaved family, and students still know the origin of the name of their learning school and that Takata died for Cambodia.
For Japanese who are working in Cambodia, not many people would remember this incident. I see some Cambodian people talk with laughter about stories of the Pol Pot era while drinking. But don’t forget that we are able to work now because of the people who contributed to the future of Cambodia and made such a big sacrifice. For the better of current Cambodia, which was once protected by civilian police officers, now that 23 years have passed, don’t we have to think about this once again?!
We can’t face predecessors by seeing only the top of the condominium under construction. Not without looking at the ground at our feet, and I think we should feel the pride and reward our hearts.