The Commanding Officers of Japanese Ship (JS) Sazanami and HMAS Coonawarra were among representatives who attended wreath laying ceremonies in Darwin recently during Exercise KAKADU 2018.
The memorial events took place at two of Darwin’s prominent war memorials – the I-124 Submarine Memorial and Darwin Cenotaph.
The Japanese submarine I-124 was sunk by HMAS Deloraine on 20 January 1942 – the first Japanese submarine to be sunk by an Australian ship.
The ceremonies saw attendees from the ADF and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) honour servicemen and women from both sides who were killed during the sinking of I-124 and various other WWII campaigns.
Senior Naval Officer Northern Australia and Commanding Officer Coonawarra, Commander Viktor Pilicic said the arrival of Japanese Ship Sazanami presented a valuable opportunity for Australian and Japanese defence personnel to come together in remembrance of both countries’ sacrifices.
“The wreath laying ceremonies, accompanied by the echoes of a gun salute, are a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made by those who served their nations so valiantly,” he said.
“This show of respect during the shore phase of Exercise KAKADU 2018 highlights the strength of our bond as regional partners.”
JS Sazanami will join ships and personnel from 26 other nations for one of the region’s largest maritime exercises which runs until mid-September.
The exercise is primarily focussed on developing interoperability between participating nations, and generating active and effective security and humanitarian partnerships.