June 6, 2014
Photo1 (Photos: Cabinet Public Relations Office)
Photo2 (Photos: Cabinet Public Relations Office)

 On Friday, June 6, commencing at 10:30 a.m. (local time) for approximately 30 minutes, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had an audience with Pope Francis. An overview of the meeting is as follows.

  1. Prime Minister Abe said that Japan is promoting to establish a society in which all people can fulfill their potential, via initiatives on African development resulting from the TICAD process and the promotion of Universal Health Coverage etc., and this is because Japan emphasizes policies that emphasize human-centered perspectives, based on the concept of human security. Pope Francis replied that Africa faces major challenges, and initiatives for granting health to the destitute and the weak are important. He said it is also important to focus on “people,” and to grant them spiritual wealth.
  2. Prime Minister Abe also explained that next year will mark 150 years since the discovery of hidden Christians that continued to preserve their faith in Nagasaki, and 400 years since the Keicho Mission led by Tsunenaga Hasekura who had an audience with Pope Paul V, and that in light of these milestones he would by all means like Pope Francis to visit Japan. Pope Francis replied that he would certainly like to visit Japan again.
  3. In addition, Prime Minister Abe and Pope Francis exchanged views on the relationship between Japan and Christianity, international affairs and other matters.
  4. After his audience with Pope Francis, Prime Minister Abe held a meeting with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin of the Roman Curia. Following that Prime Minister Abe also visited St. Peter’s Basilica, along with inspecting the Sistine Chapel etc. inside the Palace of the Vatican, which adjoins the Basilica.

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