File photo of Pope Francis.
Pope Francis on Wednesday expressed willingness to visit Japan. According to reports, the Pope intends to visit Japan in 2019.
If the visit materialises, it will be the first papal visit to Japan after John Paul II visited in 1981.
"I would like to communicate my intention to visit Japan next year," the pope told a group of Japanese during an audience at the Vatican. "I hope to be able to fulfil this wish."
He expressed his desire in unprepared remarks to members of a Japanese religious association visiting the Vatican.
"I take advantage of this visit of yours to tell you of my desire to visit Japan next year. Let's hope it can be done," he said.
The pontiff had previously expressed the desire to visit Japan and wanted to work as a missionary there during his early years.
(With inputs from AFP)
If the visit materialises, it will be the first papal visit to Japan after John Paul II.