US first lady Michelle Obama will not avoid Cambodia’s human rights record when she visits this week, her final stop on a two-country trip to promote education for girls worldwide, the White House said. The first lady, who is travelling without President Barack Obama, is scheduled to arrive in Japan, her first stop, tomorrow. Then on Friday, she heads to Siem Reap in Cambodia. The purpose of the five-day trip, from March 18-22, is to promote the new “Let Girls Learn” initiative to help millions of girls worldwide attend and complete school. But Michelle Obama will also discuss the need for an open and inclusive political system in Cambodia and highlight basic values and principles that are important to the US, said Evan Medeiros, senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council. Obama, who will become the first sitting US first lady to visit Cambodia, will address these issues during a speech there, Mederios said. The Cambodian government has been led since 1985 by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has a reputation for ruthlessness and a low tolerance for opposition. The country also has child prostitution and human trafficking problems, two issues that keep girls from attending school. President Barack Obama was the first US president to visit Cambodia in late 2012, but White House officials insisted then that Obama only visited because Cambodia was the host for two annual regional summits he had been attending as part of his focus on Asia. He appeared visibly unhappy during the brief stop. Tina Tchen, the first lady’s chief of staff, said Cambodia had done a lot of work on the girls’ education issue and that Michelle would get to learn about community-based solutions to the problem. Before departing for Washington, she plans to visit Angkor Wat, the ancient temple complex on Unesco’s list of World Heritage sites. Cambodia is one of 11 countries participating in part of the “Let Girls Learn” initiative that is being run by the Peace Corps, employing thousands of its volunteers around the world, and being overseen by the first lady. The trip also marks Mrs Obama’s first visit to Japan as first lady. In Tokyo, she is scheduled to meet separately with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie. Barack Obama made a state visit to Japan last year, and Abe is expected to make a reciprocal visit soon. Michelle Obama is expected to announce partnership between the Peace Corps and Japan’s equivalent organisation and meet local university students. Before leaving Japan, she will stop in Kyoto to tour the Kiyomizu-Dera Buddhist Temple and the Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine.