Print Version    Email to Friend
Japan to welcome Pope Francis in November

TOKYO (UCAN): Pope Francis confirmed that he is to visit Japan in November when speaking to the press on the flight taking him to the World Youth Day gathering in Panama on January 23. “I will go to Japan in November. Get ready!” he told them.
“The pope will come to Japan in the second half of November and will visit Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” Thomas Aquinas Manyo Cardinal Maeda of Osaka, confirmed on January 24.
“I met the pope in the Vatican in December and said I felt strongly that I wanted him to speak in Japan against nuclear weapons. The pope said that not only the use of nuclear weapons but even making them is unethical,” the cardinal said.  He along with the archbishops of Tokyo and Nagasaki met Pope Francis at the Vatican on December 17.
Cardinal Maeda, who is from Nagasaki, was bishop of Hiroshima from 2011 to 2014. Both cities were devastated by nuclear bombs in World War II.
Emperor Akihito is to abdicate on April 30 and Crown Prince Naruhito will become the new emperor on May 1. In mid-November, the Daijosai, the final ceremony of enthronement, will be held. It is controversial because, unlike the previous two ceremonies, it will be explicitly religious in nature.
Cardinal Maeda said he believes the pope will visit Japan after that ceremony.
“I hope the pope’s visit becomes a new source of energy as an important driving force of missionary activity and I look forward to his message to the whole world that there is nothing good in war,” he said.
It is well known that the pope had hoped to be a missionary in Japan after joining the Society of Jesus and becoming a priest. But his superiors believed he did not have the required good health to do so.
Pope St. John Paul II is the only pope ever to have visited Japan. His visit on 23 to 26 February 1981, was part of a longer trip that included visits to Pakistan, the Philippines, Guam and the state of Alaska in the United States.

More from this section