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This congress has served as a fresh reminder for me that people expect a lot from Japan. Japanese space-development organizations were established with particular emphasis on the peaceful utilization of space. In this sense they have the same basic principles as the congress. Japan has reached the level where we can put our ideas into practice. The participants in the congress highly appreciated the Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC), which is in charge of the training of Japanese astronauts, and of the operation of the Japanese Experiment Module "KIBO" of the International Space Station (ISS). Co-chairman Mr. Leonov bestowed his unqualified praise on TKSC. He said, "TKSC has been making efforts in the right manner, taking into account the past mistakes made by Russia. You have taken every necessary measure and have been heading down the right path. You are capable of dealing with whatever assignment you are given, thanks to your great specialists and academics. I'm sure Japanese astronauts will do interesting work." Perhaps Mr. Leonov's praise has renewed the determination of TKSC staff to spare no effort in their work.

This year's congress included a session on crew safety. The congress was widely watched, as it was the first since the accident of the Space Shuttle Columbia. I commented that leading-edge Japanese technology such as ultra-sensitive high-definition cameras must be used to contribute to the enhancement of crew safety. I believe that problems related to crew safety can be solved if all the countries and organizations engaged in space development join forces and bring their own special technology and unique wisdom. Technologies developed over long periods of time have been waiting for the day when they are deployed in space just as astronauts trained over long periods are anxious to fly into space. I believe such technologies are abundant in Japan.

In relation to China's successful manned flight, I was asked over and over again about the prospects for a Japanese manned flight. I believe we will eventually reach a point when we will do that, and that it can contribute to human space activities. We need further discussion with many people in order to know when it will materialize; the important thing for us to do at the moment is to enhance our technologies to provide for that day.

Mr. Alexei Leonov

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