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Astronaut Koichi Wakata will receive a prime minister’s award for his contribution to the completion of Japan’s first manned space laboratory at the International Space Station, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said Friday.

Wakata stayed 4 1/2 months at the ISS and “carried out an extremely important mission” in completing the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo (Hope) space laboratory, the government’s top spokesman said.

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