Pope promises Fukushima visit, answering plea from bullied boy via The Asahi Shimbun


VATICAN CITY–After being bullied and attacked, Matsuki Kamoshita appeared to be living a fairly peaceful life by concealing the fact that he was an evacuee from the nuclear disaster-hit Fukushima Prefecture.

The secrecy, however, was eating him up inside, and the junior high school student finally revealed his inner turmoil to a higher authority and made a special request.

“Could you visit Fukushima Prefecture to pray for victims of the nuclear accident?” Kamoshita, 16, asked Pope Francis.

The pope promised to do so when he visits Japan in November.
The exchange took place in the General Audience with Pope Francis at Piazza San Pietro in the Vatican on March 20.


Their home was located outside of the 20-kilometer no-entry zone where residents were ordered to evacuate, but the family, worried about high radiation levels, decided to relocate to Tokyo.

When pupils at his new elementary school in the capital learned that Kamoshita was from Fukushima Prefecture, they assumed he had been exposed to high doses of radiation, called him a “germ” and even physically attacked him.

Kamoshita became so traumatized by the bullying that he wrote a note when he was around 9 expressing his wish to “go to heaven.”
To avoid a similar experience, he decided not to tell his classmates about his past after he entered junior high school.


Encouraged by supporters of Fukushima evacuees, the teenager described his inner turmoil in a letter that was sent to Pope Francis in November last year.

The letter was delivered to the Holy See, which sent the boy an invitation to the General Audience with the pope.

“I could convey the sufferings of the evacuees with the pope,” Kamoshita said. “From now on, I want to give my thoughts while revealing my name and face.”

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