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Shuichiro Yamanouchi, former chairman of East Japan Railway Co. and president of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), died of heart failure at a hospital on Aug. 8, people close to him said Wednesday. He was 75.

A Tokyo native, Yamanouchi in 1956 joined what was then the Japanese National Railways and served from 1996 to 2000 as chairman of the privatized JR East.

After a successful career as a railway man, Yamanouchi in 2000 landed the top job at the then National Space Development Agency. In 2003, he became the first head of the successor JAXA, working to reorganize the space program.

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