06/26/2019, 10.23
JAPAN-VATICAN
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Pope Francis in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on November 24th

The pontiff will meet the atomic bomb survivors on the second day of his visit, which begins on November 23rd. Francis’ journey will be the second of a pontiff  to the Land of the Rising Sun, after John Paul II in February 1981. The fight against the proliferation of nuclear weapons is a very urgent topic for the Pope, given the US-North Korea and US -Iran tensions.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Pope Francis will visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki on November 24, on the occasion of his four-day apostolic trip to Japan. The pontiff will offer prayers for the victims of the atomic attacks on the two cities, which took place in 1945 at the hands of US aviation during the Second World War. The Japanese media reported this, citing sources close to the organization of the trip.

Last January 23, it was Francis himself who announced the trip, on the flight that was taking him to Panama for the celebration of the 34th World Youth Day (WYD). A few days after the announcement of the apostolic journey, Japanese Catholics invited the pope to launch a message against nuclear weapons from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

According to rumors, the Pope plans to meet the atomic bomb survivors on the second day of his visit, which opens on November 23rd. Francis’ journey will be the second of a pontiff  to the Land of the Rising Sun, after John Paul II in February 1981. The pontiff will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Emperor Naruhito in Tokyo; will hold a Mass at the Tokyo Dome stadium on November 25th.

Government sources report that the Pope sent letters to the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to the governor of the Hiroshima prefecture last May, promising to offer prayers for their citizens. Officials had extended the invitation to visit the two cities during an audience in the Vatican.

The fight against the proliferation of nuclear weapons is a very urgent topic for Pope Francis, given the US-North Korea and US-Iran tensions. At the end of the audience on June 19, greeting the English-speaking pilgrims, the Pope in particular addressed the Young Messengers of Peace of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who had come to the Vatican from Japan (photo).

As a symbol of hope the elimination of nuclear weapons, Pope Francis also put out a flame lit from the ashes of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, in 1945, during the general audience of March 20, in the presence of a delegation of Earth Caravan peace activists.

Francis wanted the photo of the "Nagasaki child" to be distributed to journalists during the flight to Chile, on January 15 last. The image, taken after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, shows a child carrying her dead brother on her shoulders. The Pope had already distributed it at the end of December, with the caption "The fruit of war".

 

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