Pope Francis has invited an 83-year-old Japanese man whose death sentence has been suspended to a large-scale mass to be held Nov. 25 in Tokyo during the pope's visit to Japan, the Vatican said Friday.
The Vatican said, however, that the pope has no plan to hold a meeting with Iwao Hakamada who was sentenced to death for a 1966 quadruple murder but released in 2014 under a district court ruling following a 48-year detention.
Hakamada, a former professional boxer who received baptism in 1984 while behind bars, is awaiting a retrial at the Supreme Court in which he is seeking exoneration.
The Roman Catholic Church announced in August last year a change in its catechism to state that "the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person."
As the first visit to Japan by a pontiff in 38 years, Pope Francis will also visit the atomic-bombed cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima on Nov. 24 to deliver a speech calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons during his four-day stay from Nov. 23.
He is scheduled to meet Emperor Naruhito on Nov. 25.