Japanese Billionaire Maezawa Returns to Earth

Science Society

Tokyo, Dec. 20 (Jiji Press)--A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa returned to Earth on Monday after he became one of the first two Japanese nonastronauts to stay at the International Space Station.

The Soyuz landed on the grasslands of Kazakhstan around 12:15 p.m. Japan time (3:15 a.m. GMT). Maezawa, 46, appeared healthy as he waved both hands with a smile after getting out of the Soyuz, live footage from NASA Television showed.

Maezawa, the founder of online fashion mall operator Zozo Inc. <3092>, made the space trip with Yozo Hirano, a 36-year-old executive of an affiliated company, and a Russian astronaut serving as the spacecraft's commander.

They arrived at the ISS after blasting off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Dec. 8. During his 12-day stay, Maezawa carried out experiments requested by the general public, appeared on radio live and posted YouTube videos.

"The 12 days in space went by quickly. Well then, I'll go back home," Maezawa wrote on twitter Sunday, the day before coming back to Earth. About six hours after returning home, Maezawa tweeted that he was on "Earth now," with a picture of him eating cup ramen noodles.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press