By Christopher Howse POPE JOHN Paul had to deal with placards saying: 'The Pope is a Beast', more police than admirers, and a welcoming downpour as he begun the last stage of his 20,000-mile pilgrimage through the Far East.
The Pope landed at Tokyo airport on Monday to be greeted by about 1,000 Catholics out of the 400,000 practising in. Japan. The inheritance of more than 200 years of persecution remain, with right-wing nationalist groups protesting against -This false religious leader who is polluting Japan."
The most universally appreciated aspect of his four-day. visit to Japan was his call for peace, especially at the atombomb cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His first words to Japan were: "I come as a pilgrim of peace. bearing a message of friendship and respect for you all.
At Hiroshima he said: "The name of Hiroshima has become a symbol of the threat towards which the whole of humanity is moving. if it does not succeed in overcoming the terrible temptation to dominate others by means of all-out nuclear destruction.
Recalling his plea to the UN for disarmament in 1979, he said: "How much still remains for us to do so that this gift of peace may come to us, so that it may not be destroyed by our cowardice or illwill, so that we may avoid bringing on humanity a new Hiroshima."
The Pope was careful to stress the value he gate to freedom of conscience and cultural integrity. To Shintoists and Buddhists he said: "You are the heirs and custodians of time honoured wisdom. In many ways you are already with us. but we Christians must also say that our faith is Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Christ we proclaim.
"Christians are willing to collaborate with you on behalf of man's dignity. his innate rights. the sacredness of his life, even in his mother's womb.
He also praised the Catholic