- Pope Francis is set to visit Japan and Thailand in November
- The dates for his visit are set from Nov. 19 to 26
- Francis is the second pope in history to visit the two countries, behind Pope John Paul II
VATICAN CITY, ROME – Pope Francis is slated to visit Thailand and Japan, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki, from November 19, to 26, the Vatican announced on Friday. He will be the second Pope to visit these two Asian countries, after Pope John Paul II.
Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam, the Vatican’s diplomatic representative in Thailand, announced the Thai leg on Friday. Francis will be in Thailand on No. 20-23 before heading to Japan, where he will meet the emperor and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
It will be Francis’ fourth trip to Asia. He had since been to South Korea, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.
In January this year, the Holy See sent a message to the meeting of Presidents of the Doctrinal Commissions of the Bishops’ Conference of Asia, and a delegation of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in Bangkok.
“You are gathered in Asia, a vast and multiform continent, marked by religious, linguistic and cultural diversity”, wrote the Pope, “in order to reaffirm our common responsibility for the unity and integrity of the Catholic faith, as well as to explore new means and methods of witnessing to the Gospel in the midst of the challenges of our contemporary world.
In 2018, Francis issued a harrowing photograph taken in 1945 showing a young Japanese boy carrying his dead brother.
The child, carried on the boy’s back, was killed when the United States dropped a nuclear bomb on Nagasaki. A world without nuclear weapons has been Francis’ longtime message.
According to a report by ABC, in a 2017 speech to Nobel lauretes, NATO officials and diplomats, he warned that the Cold War-era strategy of deterrence was no longer viable and urged instead complete nuclear disarmament.
“If we … take into account the risk of an accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of (nuclear weapons’) use, as well as their very possession is to be firmly condemned,” he said.
Nagasaki Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami, who heads the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan, expressed gratitude to Francis, noting he and others in the Japanese church have been asking for his visit for years.