Prime Minister Kishida's Audience with His Holiness Pope Francis and Japan-Vatican Summit Meeting

May 4, 2022
[Provisional translation]

On May 4, commencing at 8:20 a.m. (local time; 3:20 p.m. JST), for approximately 30 minutes, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is visiting Vatican, had an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis, and then for approximately 55 minutes, held a meeting with H. Em. Card. Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of Vatican. An overview is as follows.

1. Audience with His Holiness Pope Francis

(1) Pope Francis welcomed Prime Minister Kishida's visit to Vatican and expressed his wish to strengthen cooperation between Vatican and Japan.

(2) In response, Prime Minister Kishida stated that he is honored to meet His Holiness on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Vatican. Prime Minister Kishida also said he heard that His Holiness, as the first Pope from the Society of Jesus, had hoped for missionary activities in Japan like Francis Xavier and appreciated for the special feelings His Holiness has for Japan. Prime Minister expressed his gratritude for His Holiness’s visit to Japan in 2019 including to the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As the Prime Minister from Hiroshima, Prime Minsiter Kishida expressed his desire to cooperate with Vatican for a "world free of nuclear weapons."

(3) Both sides concurred on promoting cooperation to address common challenges of human beings as partners who place importance on peace, realization of a "world free of nuclear weapons," protection of human rights, and preservation of the environment.

(4) The both side also exchanged views on the current international and regional situation, including Russia's aggression against Ukraine, East Asia, and North Korea. In particular, regarding the situation in Ukraine, they condemned the killing of innocent civilians and affirmd their determination to end the atrocious aggression and restore peace. Prime Minister Kishida also referred to North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan again on that day (May 4), and together with his concern over North Korea's nuclear and missile activities, he requested continued understanding and cooperation for the immediate resolution of the abductions issue by North Korea.

2. Summit meeting with Secretary of State Parolin

(1) The two leaders exchanged views on bilateral relations and cooperation in the international arena, and confirmed that they would further strengthen Japan-Vatican relations on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of diplomatic relations and cooperate in addressing the common challenges of humanity, including efforts toward a "world free of nuclear weapons."

(2) Regarding Russia's aggression against Ukraine, the two leaders condemned the killing of innocent civilians and concurred on their determination to end the atrocious aggression and restore peace. They also shared the view that there should be neither the threat nor the use of nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Kishida also expressed his serious concern over the attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the East and South China Seas, the human rights situation in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, and the nuclear and missile issues of North Korea, which launched another ballistic missile on that day (May 4). The two leaders confirmed that they would respond resolutely to the escalating international tensions and continue to cooperate in dealing with North Korea, including the abductions issue.

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