Japan foreign minister seeks free and fair Cambodia polls

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Japan foreign minister seeks free and fair Cambodia polls
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, right, guides Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono, left, before a welcome meeting in Peace Palace, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sunday, April 8, 2018. Kono is on his one-day an official visit to Cambodia. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Japan’s foreign minister has urged Cambodia to hold free and fair elections but didn’t comment on the Cambodian government’s actions against its political opponents during talks with the Southeast Asian nation’s long-serving prime minister, Hun Sen.

According to Japanese Foreign Secretary Norio Maruyama, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Sunday that Tokyo would help Cambodia with free and fair elections. Maruyama confirmed that Japan would supply ballot boxes for the July polls.

Right groups and Western nations have expressed concern about the conditions under which the election will be held, with the opposition party dissolved by court order after a complaint by the government, one of its leaders imprisoned and the other in self-imposed exile, and critical media outlets forced to shut down.