Pope Francis says he wants to visit Japan in 2019

Pope Francis said Wednesday he wants to visit Japan next year, in what would be the first papal visit to the country in nearly 40 years, according to a local media report.

Pope Francis expressed his intention during an audience with representatives of a Japanese religious association, the Vatican News said.

(Pope Francis in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in December 2017)

The pope — who was invited to Japan by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when they met at the Vatican in 2014 — has previously expressed his willingness to visit the country but has never mentioned a possible date.

The late Pope John Paul II became the first pontiff to visit the country in 1981.

All — Kyodo News+

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