TRIESTE, Italy (Kyodo) Prime Minister Taro Aso will meet with Pope Benedict XVI in Vatican City on July 7, sources said Wednesday.
The first meeting since 1999 between a pope and a Japanese prime minister will take place as Aso, a Catholic, has been hoping to meet the pope when he attends the Group of Eight summit to be held in Italy from July 8, said the sources in Rome.
Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s foreign minister, visited Japan in March and met with Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone. Mamberti is the first secretary for relations with states of the Holy See to have visited Japan.
The last top-level meeting between Tokyo and Vatican City was held in 1999 between then Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and Pope John Paul II, both now deceased.
The Vatican said Wednesday Pope Benedict and U.S. President Barack Obama will hold their first talks July 10 in Vatican City.
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