Pope Francis to visit Japan on Nov. 23-26 after trip to Thailand
ROME. KAZINFORM Pope Francis will visit Japan from Nov. 23 to 26, the Vatican said Friday, the first pontiff in nearly four decades to travel to the country.
The visit to Japan will follow his trip to Thailand from Nov. 20 to 23, Kyodo News reports.
In Japan, Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the atomic-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki along with Tokyo. He will also meet with Emperor Naruhito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Japanese government said.
The last pope to visit Japan, John Paul II, also went to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1981.
Pope Francis, elected as the Roman Catholic pontiff in 2013, has called for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
The mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, along with the governor of Hiroshima Prefecture, had expressed hope that the pope would visit.
When Abe held talks at the Vatican in 2014, he asked Pope Francis to visit Japan. In January, the pope said he would travel to the country.
Expectations had been growing in Japan that the pope would also travel to the Tohoku region, where reconstruction continues more than eight years after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.