wh_pope_231220.jpgPope Francis meets with victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami on Monday in Tokyo.


November 25, 2019

Pope Francis on Monday met with victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan, a day after railing against the destructive power of nuclear weapons in the atomic bomb-hit cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

The gathering in Tokyo was set because the pope wanted to meet with those who suffered from what he calls the “triple disaster” involving the quake, tsunami and the meltdown of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

In the first papal visit to Japan in 38 years, conducted under the theme of Protect All Life, the pope had wanted to visit disaster-hit areas but could not because of his full schedule, according to people close to him.

Three victims were to recount to him their experiences — a high school student who fled to Tokyo from the nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture, the head of a kindergarten in Iwate Prefecture who lost a student in the tsunami, and a Buddhist priest who survived the disasters.

The event came ahead of separate meetings with Emperor Naruhito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe scheduled for later in the day in the Japanese capital.