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Pope Francis Merges Two Dioceses in Japan…

The new archdiocese has just 51,413 Catholics, less than a third of 1% of the area’s 19 million inhabitants.

The total population of the Archdiocese of Osaka has remained mostly steady over the past 20 years, while the number of inhabitants of the Diocese of Takamatsu declined 9% from 2000 to 2020.

The number of Catholics in the Diocese of Takamatsu declined by 4% and the number of priests almost halved over the same period.

The Catholic Church in Japan has 15 dioceses. According to the latest available Vatican statistics, Catholics make up just .5% of the population in the largely secular country. Approximately half of these Catholics are foreign nationals let into the country as temporary workers in unskilled jobs.

Pope Francis at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial on Nov. 24, 2019, during his apostolic visit to Japan. Vatican Media
Pope Francis at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial on Nov. 24, 2019, during his apostolic visit to Japan. Vatican Media

During a visit to Japan in 2019, Pope Francis said the Church’s small size “must not diminish your commitment to evangelization.”

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