Pope Francis arrived in Tokyo on Saturday after three days in Thailand and sent goodwill messages to China, Taiwan and Hong Kong while flying over the countries. After departing from Bangkok, the Pope sent telegrams to the countries and territories the papal plane flew over while en route to Tokyo, Japan.
The trip was the second time a pope has visited Japan after his predecessor Pope St John Paul II visited the country in 1981. The Vatican sent telegrams to overflight countries as is customary and on this occasion were Taiwan, Sanya Island and Hong Kong, but made no reference to any of the political tensions between these countries.
"I pray that Almighty God may grant you well-being and peace," were Pope Francis' words to Carrie Lam, head of the Hong Kong Government.
There were also telegrams to Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom he wished "abundant divine blessings of peace and joy" and to the President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-Wen: "Abundant divine blessings of peace."
The pope will meet with bishops in Japan on Saturday and on Sunday will travel to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.