Left Menu
Development News Edition

Pope departs Thailand for Japan, bringing anti-nuclear message

Reuters | Tokyo | Updated: 23-11-2019 09:19 IST | Created: 23-11-2019 08:58 IST
Pope departs Thailand for Japan, bringing anti-nuclear message
Representative image Image Credit: Flickr

Pope Francis left Thailand on Saturday after a three-day visit and headed to Japan, where he is to visit the ground zeros of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as part of his campaign against nuclear weapons.

The pope, 82, was accompanied to the airport by his cousin, Sister Ana Rosa Sivori, a nun who has worked in Thai schools for more than 50 years and was his translator on the trip. In Thailand, he celebrated Mass with the small Catholic minority in an overwhelmingly Buddhist country and spoke out against human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women.

In Japan, Pope Francis is expected to turn his focus to his anti-nuclear campaign, particularly on Sunday, when he visits Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world's only two cities to suffer nuclear attacks. About 400,000 people were killed, either instantly or from radiation illness or injuries resulting from the atomic bombs that the United States dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and on Nagasaki three days later, as it sought to end World War Two.

Francis will meet blast survivors, pray, and read a message on nuclear weapons at the bomb epicenter in Nagasaki. He later visits Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. In the Japanese capital, he will meet survivors of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Francis wants a total ban on nuclear weapons, going further than his predecessors, when he said in 2017 that countries should not stockpile them, even for the purpose of deterrence. Japan stresses its unique status as the only nation to have suffered atomic attacks and advocates disarmament but nonetheless relies on the U.S. nuclear umbrella as an extended deterrent.

Francis, who, as a young priest, wanted to be a missionary in Japan, will also meet some of a dwindling number of its "Hidden Christians" , descendants of those who preserved their faith in secret during centuries of persecution until a ban on Christianity was lifted in 1873. Japan is mainly Buddhist and Shinto and only about 1% of its population of about 126 million identify as Christian. Of this number, some 536,000 are Catholic.

Christians are disproportionately present among Japan's elite, some of whom may have also attended Christian private schools without adopting the religion. Two Japanese prime ministers have been Catholics: Takashi Hara, from 1918 to 1921, and current finance minister Taro Aso, who was prime minister during 2008-2009.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

China: A savior for emerging markets or a poison pill?

... ...

Future of Urban Planning: Artificial Intelligence guiding the way

Advances in emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help us understand our cities better and derive useful insights from real-time data collected through automated models....

Videos

Latest News

HDFC sells 24 pc stake in Good Host Spaces for Rs 233 cr

Non-banking finance company Housing Development Finance Corporation HDFC has signed a pact to sell its 24.48 per cent stake in Good Host Spaces, a company engaged in the business of managing student housing facilities, for nearly Rs 233 cro...

Cricket-'An absolute joke', Handscomb slams Paine captaincy critics

Former test batsman Peter Handscomb leapt to the defence of Tim Paine on Thursday as the Australia captain came under fire in the wake of the series loss to India. Indias dramatic triumph in the fourth test at the Gabba on Tuesday led to a ...

'Your continued faith in me has brought me to this moment', Harris credits her Indian mom

Kamala Harris, who scripted history by becoming the first-ever woman Vice President of the US, has credited her Indian mother for showing faith in her and always reminding her two daughters that though we may be the first, we should not be ...

Thailand Open: Doubles pair of Satwiksairaj, Ashwini breeze into quarter-finals

Indian mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa secured their berth in the quarter-finals of the ongoing Thailand Open with a scintillating win on Thursday. After winning the first set against Germanys Mark Lamsfus...

Give Feedback