Japanese sailor attacked at Solomon Islands memorial service

Japanese sailor attacked at Solomon Islands memorial service
A Japanese sailor was attacked during the World War II memorial service that was also attended by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman (Petty Officer Chris Weissenborn/NZDF via AP/PA)

A Japanese sailor was attacked in the Solomon Islands during a World War II memorial service on Monday attended by US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.

The victim was part of a Japanese Navy media team and he was stabbed in the neck with a pair of scissors, receiving minor injuries.

The Solomon Islands government was hosting the dawn service at Bloody Ridge as part of commemorations to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal.

The sailor needed stitches but was expected to recover. Bloody Ridge community chief Wesley Ramo said the suspect was from a neighbouring community.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman speaks at the dawn service at Bloody Ridge (Chris Weissenborn/NZDF via AP/PA)

Also attending the ceremony were Makoto Oniki, Japan’s state minister of defence, and Peeni Henare, New Zealand’s defence minister.

The suspect reportedly tackled the sailor to the ground during the attack before locals and US military personnel stepped in and detained him. The ceremony resumed after a short break.

Commemorations are being held over three days in the Solomon Islands to mark the anniversary of the battle. Bloody Ridge is a small hill where in September 1942, US Marines held off a Japanese force that was attacking a military airfield.

Ms Sherman’s trip comes after the US and several Pacific nations expressed deep concern about a security pact the Solomons signed with China in April, which many fear could result in a military build-up in the region.

As part of her trip, Ms Sherman has also visited the Pacific nations of Samoa and Tonga and plans to visit Australia and New Zealand.

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