Pope says he hopes to visit Japan next year, fulfilling wish

Source: Associated Press

By NICOLE WINFIELD

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis said Wednesday he hopes to visit Japan next year, a trip that would enable him to draw attention to both the legacy of Christian martyrs centuries ago and survivors of the atomic bombs in 1945.

Francis made the announcement while meeting with members of a visiting Japanese cultural association.

“Taking advantage of this visit, I want to announce my hope to visit Japan next year. We hope to do it,” Francis said, speaking off-the-cuff.

Francis has long expressed his admiration for Japanese culture and history, and famously had hoped to become a missionary in Japan after he was ordained a priest. His superiors dashed his hopes, however, citing his frail health at the time.

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