Apology offered to Japan following stabbing incident

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Barney Sivoro conveyed the country's sincere apology to the government, people of Japan through a traditional reconciliation ceremony witnessed by Ambassador Yoshiaki Miwa.Photo by MAVIS PODOKOLO
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GOVERNMENT acted promptly to apologise over yesterday’s stabbing of a Japanese military officer at Bloody Ridge, east of Honiara.

The attack, by a man police say was mentally ill, marred what was to be a solemn and memorial event, attended by dignitaries from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and locals.

The apology was conveyed through a traditional reconciliation ceremony conducted at the Mendana hotel in Honiara.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Barney Sivoro made the apology to the government, people of Japan and to the officer who was stabbed in the incident.

“I would like to convey our sincere apology to you all, especially the officer who was involved in the incident,” Sivoro said.

“None of us were expecting, nor even wanted this kind of incident to happen up there when everyone was enjoying the ceremony,” he added.

“We know it was not targeting the Japanese. It could have been anybody in the crowd.

“We know it could have been worse, and it could have threatened his life but thanks to the swift action by those who were standing beside him to quickly get the situation under control.”

Sivoro said from information received is it is an isolated incident by somebody who is mentally affected and the government will not be deterred by such s selfish attitude of one person to derail the significance of the program and to the many peace-loving people in the community who live within the vicinity of the Park, and who do not condone such uncivilized act of cowardness.

Sivoro stressed that the matter is now in the hands of police who arrested the offender and will be dealt with by the law.

“But for now, the government and its people are really sorry for what happened today and as a gesture to show that we are really sorry, we would like to offer this traditional shell money as a symbol of peace and reconciliation and I hope that you will accept it.

“We have learned our lesson and assure our friends that it will not happen again in future events,” he said.

Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Cornelius Walegerea adds that this relationship between the two countries is what they are so concerned about

 “So this reconciliation by the government and people of Solomon Islands will register our apology to the officer who is involved in this incident,” he explained.

“We will later this afternoon (yesterday) convey our formal apology to the Embassy of Japan in Solomon Islands so that you can convey it to the government and people of Japan,” Walegerea added.

Japanese Ambassador to Solomon Islands Yoshiaki Miwa in response thanked the government of Solomon Islands for arranging this traditional reconciliation ceremony to say the country is sorry for what happened.

“This event shows that our cooperation and friendship is very strong. I understand this incident has no political background,” Miwa said.

He on the other hand expressed his appreciation that in spite of this incident the very important ceremony at the Bloody Ridge National Peace Park held yesterday was pushed through until the end.

“It is confirmed that our friendship is solid and we will develop in the future,” Miwa said.

He said this ceremony is organised by the government of Solomon Islands and attended by the representative of US and Japan and so all the countries involved in the WWII 80 years ago had already overcome that kind of thing.

“But know that we are friends already,” Miwa said.