Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI called on Saturday for a new push towards nuclear disarmament, as he received the credentials of Japan`s new ambassador to the Vatican, Hidekazu Yamaguchi.
Referring to the 65th anniversary in August of the
nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World
War II, the pope said, "This tragedy persistently reminds us
of the necessity to persevere in efforts to ensure
non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and disarmament."
Speaking in French, the pope stressed that "the memory
of this dark episode in human history becomes more poignant
each year as the witnesses of such horror pass away."
Benedict said nuclear weapons were a major cause of
concern, raising tension and mistrust in many parts of the
world through their possession and threat of being used.
He hailed Japan for "its constant support in the
search for political solutions which not only to prevent
proliferation... but to prevent war being considered as a way
to resolve conflicts."
Both Tokyo and the Vatican shared the hope of a world
without nuclear arms, the pope said, calling for weapons
budgets to be spent on social and economic development,
education and health instead.
He praised Japan for its freedom of religious
observance, enabling Catholics to live in peace and fraternity
and contribute to national life, as well as its aid for