• Kyodo

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Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi said Tuesday he hopes his space trip scheduled for March 1 brings hope to young people and promotes the importance of global cooperation amid rising international tension.

“It would be nice if my space trip became a trigger to change the feeling of being bound that is felt by children and young people nowadays,” Noguchi, 37, told Japanese reporters at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Noguchi is one of seven crew members scheduled to lift off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center in the space shuttle Atlantis in March. It will dock with the International Space Station to restock supplies and conduct maintenance.

“The training for activities outside the shuttle is thorough,” Noguchi said. He will be the second Japanese to work outside a spacecraft, following Takao Doi in 1997.

“Precisely at this time of rising international tension, it is an important thing that different countries are acting together for the peaceful and united purpose of building the space station,” Noguchi said.

“I want to show everyone how various things look and behave in space, such as food that Japanese kids eat and toys they play with.”

Noguchi plans an educational event on his space station lifestyle, using food such as rice cakes and noodles, and toys such as radio-controlled planes and spinning tops.

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