ROME: Visiting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Pope Francis agreed Wednesday to cooperate to realize a world without nuclear weapons, which is Kishida’s lifetime goal.
In their meeting at the Vatican, they condemned civilian killings during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and voiced their determination to end the barbarous invasion and bring back peace.
Kishida was the first sitting Japanese prime minister to visit the Vatican and meet with the Pope since Shinzo Abe did so in 2014.
Pope Francis, who took office in 2013, visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese cities that suffered atomic bomb attacks in the final days of World War II, in 2019, calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Kishida, a politician representing Hiroshima, told the Pope that his visit to the atomic-bombed cities was deeply engraved in the hearts of Japanese people.
The Japanese leader also mentioned North Korea’s ballistic missile launch earlier on Wednesday and expressed concern about the reclusive country’s nuclear and missile development.
Furthermore, Kishida asked for the Pope’s support for Japan’s efforts to resolve as soon as possible the issue of North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals decades ago.
At a meeting with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, later in the day, Kishida showed his strong concern over China’s attempts to unilaterally change the status quo in the South China Sea and the East China Sea and over the human rights situations in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
Kishida and the Vatican official agreed to respond firmly to rising tension in the international community.