Vatican City: November 27, 2010. (Vatican Radio) As tensions in the Far East build between the two Koreas on Saturday Pope Benedict XVI launched an appeal for peace and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons
Receiving the new Ambassador to the Holy See from Japan, Yamaguchi Hidekazu, the Pope praised the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ for its regional role as a promoter of peace and democracy and its efforts to end the threat of nuclear arms.
He said "Since its entry in the organization of the United Nations Japan has always been a major player on the regional and international scene and has contributed significantly to the expansion of peace, democracy and human rights in the Far East and in the rest of the world, particularly in developing countries. "
The Pope called to mind the seventy-fifth anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, noting that "nuclear weapons remain a major concern. The possession and the risk of their possible use has increased tensions and mistrust in many parts of the world. "
He highlighted the efforts made by Japan in nuclear disarmament and in formulating solutions to the ongoing political tensions in the region. "We share this concern with Japan for a world without nuclear weapons - he continued - the Holy See encourages all nations to patiently build the peace with economic and political means that have to stand as a bulwark against every attempt to resort to weapons and promote the integral human development of all peoples. "
Finally the Holy Father also emphasized the freedom of religion and conscience in Japan, which has "enabled the Catholic Church not only to live in peace and brotherhood with everyone, but also play an active and vibrant role in the country, through universities, schools, hospitals and charities that serve the entire community. " Listen to the full report by Emer McCarthy: