Pope Francis has appealed to world leaders to do away with the use of atomic bombs for good.
The pope delivered this message in a speech during a trip to Japan where he was met by Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.
His speech comes a day after he visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only two cities recorded in history to be hit by atomic bombs.
Francis, 82, is a determined anti-nuclear campaigner who’s in the past called for a total ban on nuclear weapons.
More than 100,000 people were killed instantly by the two bombs dropped by the United States as it sought to end World War Two in August 1945 and tens of thousands of others died in later years from radiation illnesses and injuries.
The Pope expressed his trip to Japan as special because as a seminarian in his native Argentina more than 50 years ago, he dreamed of being sent to Japan as a missionary. But his superiors had other plans for him after he was ordained a priest in 1968.
Nuclear disarmament has been a key theme of the pontiff’s trip to Japan, a country not only haunted by the memory of the two attacks that ended World War Two but also alarmed by the nuclear program and missile tests of nearby North Korea.
Francis backs a U.N. treaty aiming to ban nuclear weapons and says even their possession for the purpose of deterrence is immoral.
In an apparent reference to recurring tensions with North Korea, Francis said dialogue was “the only weapon worthy of man and capable of ensuring lasting peace”.
Nuclear devastation was also a topic of the pope’s meeting on Monday with Emperor Naruhito.
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