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Dentsu Inc. wants to send celebrities to the International Space Station to shoot television commercials, a company official said Thursday.

“Discussion has been under way to take such prominent people as Mr. Shigeo Nagashima there,” Satoshi Takamatsu, a commercial planner for the nation’s largest advertising agency, told a panel of experts at Japan’s Space Activities Commission.

Nagashima, a national baseball team manager for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and former Yomiuri Giants manager, is one of the nation’s most popular sports personalities.

An official of the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry said the ministry is willing to help realize the project.

International rules concerning the space station prohibit the use of astronauts for commercial purposes, and rules governing Japan’s participation in the space station project ban activities deemed as having a commercial purpose.

Takamatsu participated in a joint project involving Dentsu and the former National Space Development Agency of Japan to shoot commercial footage on the space station in 2001.

The space station is still under construction.

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