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International relations

Japan SDF member assaulted at WWII memorial event in Solomon Islands

Assailant detained by U.S. military personnel; sailor suffers minor injuries

Officials mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal near Honiara, Solomon Islands on Aug. 8.   © AP

SYDNEY (Kyodo) -- A member of Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force suffered a minor injury when he was assaulted Monday at a commemoration service marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara.

The MSDF officer was slashed in the neck after he was approached from behind by a local man and assaulted with what appeared to be a pair of scissors, according to the Japanese Embassy in the Solomon Islands.

U.S. military personnel attending the service quickly detained the assailant, who was later taken into the custody by local police, according to a Radio New Zealand report. The motive was not known.

The officer received stitches from medical personnel on board the MSDF destroyer Kirisame, which was calling at the port of Honiara, and is doing fine, the Japanese Defense Ministry said.

The commemoration ceremony hosted by the Solomon Islands government at Bloody Ridge in Honiara was attended by senior officials from the United States, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Makoto Oniki, Japanese senior vice defense minister, was in attendance as was U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and U.S. Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy.

The event followed similar ceremonies held by the United States and Japan in Honiara on Sunday to commemorate the thousands of soldiers who lost their lives in the 1942 battle for the island of Guadalcanal.

The fierce battle between the U.S. Marines and Imperial Japanese forces spanned about six months and resulted in around 22,000 deaths among Japanese personnel, with many dying of starvation and disease. The Allied forces suffered around 1,600 casualties in the fighting, while thousands more also died of disease.

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