Pope Francis visits Japan, bearing anti-nuclear message

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TOKYO (Information) – Pope Francis arrived on Saturday in Japan, the second leg of a week-long Asian journey whose primary intention is to convey an anti-nuclear message to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the world’s solely cities to undergo atomic bombing.

Pope Francis meets bishops from the Vatican embassy in Tokyo, Japan, November 23, 2019. Information/Remo Casilli

Francis, a decided anti-nuclear campaigner who will learn a message on nuclear weapons in Nagasaki, can even meet survivors of the March 11, 2011 nuclear meltdown at Fukushima, the world’s worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl in 1986.

The pope’s airplane touched down in Tokyo in a lightweight drizzle and windy circumstances. Francis flew from Thailand to begin a four-day go to that would be the first by a pontiff in 38 years and solely the second in historical past.

After a low-key reception on the airport – the official welcome shall be on Monday – he instantly went to the Vatican embassy to handle the bishops of Japan.

En path to Japan, the papal airplane flew over Chinese language, Hong Kong and Taiwanese airspace and the pope despatched messages to their respective leaders as a part of customary diplomatic protocol.

The message to Carrie Lam, the embattled chief govt of Hong Kong, invoked “properly being and peace”. Francis made no point out of the months of the pro-democracy demonstrations within the Chinese language-ruled particular administrative area.

The message to Chinese language President Xi Jinping was comparable. It was the primary time that Francis has flown over Chinese language airspace since final yr’s landmark accord between Beijing and the Vatican over the appointment of bishops.

He additionally despatched a message to Taiwan, which has diplomatic relations with the Vatican however which Beijing regards as a renegade province.

One other objective of his go to to Japan is to encourage the Catholic neighborhood in Japan, the place nearly 1% of the inhabitants identifies as Christian, about half of them Catholic.

He’ll say two Plenty, one in Nagasaki and one in Tokyo, in addition to assembly Japanese officers and Emperor Naruhito.

Reporting by Philip Pullella; Writing by Elaine Lies; Modifying by Clarence Fernandez, Ritsuko Ando and Frances Kerry