Decisive phase in pope's trip to Asia begins in Japan
The pope begins the second part of his tour in Asia. After an intense visit to Thailand, he begins his visit to the country of the rising sun.
In Japan, Pope Francis will focus on denouncing the dangers of nuclear weapons, as he did with this message to Japan a few days before his departure.
“Together with you, I pray the destructive power of nuclear weapons will never be unleashed again in human history. Using nuclear weapons is immoral.”
The pope arrives in Tokyo on Saturday, Nov. 23, but has no events in his agenda.
Sunday will be a long day in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. He'll visit the Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park, the ground zero where the atomic bomb fell on Aug. 9, 1945. There, he'll give a message in favor of abolishing nuclear arms.
He will then pay tribute to St. Paul Miki and his 25 fellow martyrs, crucified in 1597 during the sovereign of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Pope Francis will remember the persecuted Christians of the world.
He will then celebrate Sunday Mass in the Nagasaki baseball stadium, filled with around 20,000 people.
Then, he will travel to Hiroshima for a peace meeting at the Peace Memorial. He'll meet 20 victims of the atomic explosion.
Monday, Nov. 25, in Tokyo he will meet with victims of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, which is considered the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.
He will also meet with Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace on Monday.
On his last day in Japan, Tuesday, Nov. 26, he will travel to Sophia University in Tokyo, which was founded by the Society of Jesus. Here, he will meet with Jesuits, and later visit elderly priests and the sick.
This trip is to greet and accompany the country's small Catholic community, which is less than half a million of Japan's 127 million Japanese residents.