• Kyodo

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Yusaku Maezawa, the billionaire entrepreneur who last month became the first Japanese civilian to travel to the International Space Station (ISS), said Friday that he is now planning a trip to the Mariana Trench, the deepest known location on Earth.

Maezawa revealed the exploration project at a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo, saying that “it’s been almost decided what kind of submarine will be used and how long the trip will be.” Details of the plan will be announced later, he added.

The billionaire said in a live radio broadcast from space last month that he next wanted to fulfill his dream of going to the deepest place on Earth.

“Since I’ve come this far already, I’m thinking about diving into the deep sea. I want to go high and low,” he said at that time.

Maezawa, widely known for eccentric behavior such as giving away money on Twitter, has distinguished himself from other Japanese entrepreneurs who are generally considered risk-averse.

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Maezawa was launched on Dec. 8 last year from Kazakhstan to the ISS. He returned to Earth on Dec. 20.

“I had underestimated zero gravity. I have become newly aware of the heaviness of Earth’s gravity,” he said at the press conference.

The founder of major online fashion retailer Zozo Inc. plans to orbit the Moon with U.S. firm SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket in 2023, in the first such trip organized by a private company. He said that after his return from the space station he also hopes to visit the Moon.

With his planned orbit of the Moon scheduled about a year from now, the billionaire said he is hoping to reveal who will accompany him on the trip shortly. He has previously said he wants to take six to eight world-renowned artists with him.

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