• Kyodo

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Giuseppe Pittau, a former president of Sophia University, died of a stroke last Friday at a home for the elderly in Tokyo, the Vatican said Monday. He was 86.

Born on the Italian island of Sardinia, Pittau entered the Society of Jesus in 1945 and arrived in Japan in 1952 as a Jesuit missionary.

He served as president of Sophia University from 1975 to 1981 and accompanied Pope John Paul II during his tour of Japan in 1981.

The pope then summoned Pittau to the Vatican, where he held various offices, including rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He became an archbishop in 1998 and returned to live in Japan in 2004.

Pope Francis said in a message of condolence that Pittau was an “exemplary minister of God.”

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