Looking back on Pope Francis' meetings with Japan's former PM, Shinzo Abe

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Pope Francis first met with Japan's longest-serving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Vatican in 2014. 

Together they discussed ways of promoting peace in Asia and attention the environment. The Prime Minister gave the pope the replica of a mirror used by underground Japanese Christians in the 17th century, which reveals a cross when exposed to light.

The Pope was later received by Abe in Tokyo during his visit to Japan in 2019. There, the two condemned the use and possession of nuclear weapons, and the Pope urged the world to never let the tragedy of a nuclear attack, as had happened in Japan, repeat itself.

In the footsteps of my predecessors, I have also come to implore God and to invite all persons of good will to encourage and promote every necessary means of dissuasion so the destruction generated by atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki will never take place again in human history.

The only victim of a nuclear attack in history, Japan has worked closely with the Vatican to promote nuclear disarmament. Even after Abe's death, it will remain a key area of collaboration between the two countries. 

Reducing the threat of nuclear weapons worldwide was a central topic of discussion in Pope Francis' meeting with the current Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, as well as with the head of the UN Under-Secretary-General of Disarmament Affairs, Japanese diplomat Izumi Nakamitsu.


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