November 23, 2019 / 8:39 AM / 21 days ago

Pope Francis arrives in Japan to promote anti-nuclear message

Pope Francis arrives at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan, November 23, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) - Pope Francis arrived on Saturday in Japan, the second leg of a week-long Asian trip whose main aim is to bring an anti-nuclear message to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the world’s only cities to suffer atomic bombing in wartime.

Francis, a determined anti-nuclear campaigner who will read a message on nuclear weapons in Nagasaki, will also meet survivors of the March 11, 2011 nuclear meltdown at Fukushima, the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

The pope touched down in Tokyo after flying from Thailand for a four-day visit that will be the first in 38 years and only the second in history.

Another goal of his visit is to encourage the Catholic community in Japan, where just about 1 percent of the population identifies as Christian, about half of them Catholic.

He will say two Masses, one in Nagasaki and one in Tokyo, as well as meeting Japanese officials and Emperor Naruhito.

Reporting by Philip Pullella; Writing by Elaine Lies; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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