by Staff Writers
Moscow (Sputnik) Jan 19, 2016
Kimiya Yui, a Japanese astronaut and a retired Lieutenant-Colonel in the Japan Air Self-Defense Force said he had learned the Russian language to serve as a link between Japan and Russia, NHK reported on Saturday.
"I have learned Russian and would like to serve as a bridge between our countries' space communities," Kimiya Yui said during a news conference in Star City outside Moscow. Last year Kimiya Yui spent 142 days on board the International Space Station with his Russian and American colleagues.
Speaking fluent Russian, Kimiyo Yui said that he was "ready to fly to space again any time," but added that it was now the turn of his fellow countryman, Takuya Onishi, to fly to the ISS. Kimiya Yui said that the successful docking of a Japanese cargo ship with the space outpost with the help of a robotic arm was "forever etched" in his memory.
Expedition 45 flight engineers Oleg Kononenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Kjell Lindgren of NASA and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency landed in Kazakhstan in December 2015.
Their return wrapped up 142 days in space since their launch in late July.
The International Space Station, launched in 1998, consists of different modules. The station brings together the space agencies of Russia, the United States, Canada, Japan, as well as the European Space Agency.
According to the Kyodo news agency, a ministerial committee on space development, headed by Abe, made the decision Tuesday.
"We will faithfully implement the schedule for our basic space program and work on an aggressive space strategy," Abe said, as quoted by the media outlet.
Earlier this year, Russia's Federal Space Agency Roscosmos announced that Russia would continue to use the ISS until around 2024. The United States has already agreed to continue using the station until 2024.
Source: Sputnik News
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