TOKYO — Pope Francis has told Japanese Emperor Naruhito that he remembers seeing his parents cry over the news of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 74 years ago.
The pope traveled on Sunday to the two Japanese cities, where he urged world powers to renounce their nuclear arsenals and declared the use and possession of atomic bombs an “immoral” crime.
Palace officials say the pope told the emperor on Monday that he recalled the memory of his parent’s sorrow when he addressed survivors of the atomic bombings in the two cities.
Naruhito told Francis that he has high respect for the pope’s efforts on behalf of world peace and people’s happiness.
The emperor is a symbol of the nation and has no direct political power.
Japan says it seeks a nuclear-free world but still depends on U.S. nuclear deterrence because of the worsening security environment in the region.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga made the comments Monday, a day after Francis demanded in Nagasaki and Hiroshima that world powers renounce their nuclear arsenals and declared that the use and possession of atomic bombs was “immoral.”
Suga said nuclear deterrence is the foundation of Japan’s national security, and that its dependence on the U.S. nuclear umbrella, and even strengthening it, is “realistic and appropriate.”
Survivors of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki say they are frustrated and saddened by Japan’s lack of leadership in seeking a nuclear weapons ban despite the suffering of its own people.
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