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INTERVIEW: Japanese Cardinal Pins High Hopes on Pope's Visit

INTERVIEW: Japanese Cardinal Pins High Hopes on Pope's Visit

   Osaka, Nov. 16 (Jiji Press)--Japanese cardinal Manyo Maeda has voiced his strong hope for Pope Francis to issue a strong message for the total abolition of nuclear weapons during his visit to Japan on Nov. 23-26.
   "The pope is expected to say 'no' to not only the use of nuclear weapons but also their production and possession," the 70-year-old archbishop of Osaka said in an interview with Jiji Press on Friday in the western Japan city of Osaka. He has played a pivotal role in arranging the first papal visit to Japan in 38 years.
   Pope Francis, who is set to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two Japanese cities devastated by the U.S. atomic bombings in the closing days of World War II, has been calling for efforts to be made to realize a world free of nuclear weapons. As part of the moves, the pope ordered a photo of a Japanese boy standing by a crematorium in Nagasaki after the Aug. 9, 1945, bombing of the city, carrying his dead brother on his shoulder, into cards for distribution.
   With far more than 10,000 nuclear weapons existing in the world, Pope Francis "is worried that any of the weapons could be used any time soon and the situation is therefore serious," Maeda said.
   The pope is expected to focus especially on the issue of nuclear weapons during a Mass planned in Nagasaki and at a meeting in Hiroshima, according to Maeda. Noting that protecting all lives is the theme of Pope Francis' upcoming Japan visit, Maeda said: "Issues of life are important (for everyone), regardless of which religion people follow. Pope Francis is willing to talk to not only Christians but all other people."

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AFP-JIJI PRESS NEWS JOURNAL


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