JAXA Selects 2 Astronaut Candidates

Science Society

Tokyo, Feb. 28 (Jiji Press)--The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, said Tuesday it has picked Makoto Suwa, a 46-year-old male World Bank worker, and Ayu Yoneda, a 28-year-old female doctor at the Japanese Red Cross Medical Center, as astronaut candidates.

It was the first time for JAXA to choose astronaut candidates since it picked Kimiya Yui, 53, and others as astronaut candidates in 2009.

Suwa and Yoneda might become the first Japanese to land on the moon, under the NASA-led Artemis manned lunar exploration program. Japan has announced its participation in the program.

"I was happy and surprised at the same time," Yoneda told a press conference in Tokyo. "I then felt a sense of responsibility about being selected as well as a sense of mission."

Joining the press conference online from the United States, Suwa said, "As I'll be making a major career shift, I strongly feel that I have to do my job to my best."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press