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JAXA Finalizes the Selection of Astronaut Candidates
from FY2021-2022 Applicant Pool

February 28, 2023 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, which has been assessing applications for the position of astronaut candidates since April 2022, is pleased to announce the selection of the two applicants listed below as JAXA astronaut candidates. The two selected individuals will soon commence a training program lasting approximately two years. Subject to an evaluation of their progress during training, two candidates will be officially recognized as JAXA astronauts.

Following this official recognition, the two selected individuals may be selected for missions to space including as missions to the International Space Station (ISS), mission to the lunar “Gateway”, a planned crewed space station in orbit around the Moon, and also missions to the lunar surface.

1. The following two applicants have been selected as JAXA astronaut candidates (Japanese alphabetical order)

SUWA Makoto

2. Planned future schedule

April 1, 2023: The candidate astronauts officially join JAXA
April 2023 onwards: After an initial orientation, the two astronaut candidates will begin a basic training program designed to equip them with the required scientific and technical knowledge, as well as knowledge and skills related to the ISS, including the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo”, ISS systems and others.

Attachment 1: Astronaut Candidate Information
Attachment 2: Age Breakdown of Applicants at Each Stage of the Selection Process
Attachment 3: Messages for the Newly Selected Astronaut Candidates from Senior JAXA Astronauts (Selected in 2008)

Attachment 1

Astronaut Candidate Information

Name: SUWA Makoto
Age: 46 (born in 1977)
Current Position: Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, World Bank
Place of birth: Tokyo

Academic and career history:

June 2007 PhD, Geosciences, Princeton University
January 2008 Dispatched to Rwanda as a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
November 2010 Joined World Meteorological Organization, a UN agency
March 2014 Joined World Bank

Name: YONEDA Ayu
Age: 28 (born in 1995)
Current Position: Japanese Red Cross Medical Center, physician, department of surgery
Place of birth: Tokyo

Academic and career history:

March 2019 Graduated Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo
April 2019 Joined the University of Tokyo Hospital
April 2021 Joined Japanese Red Cross Medical Center
October 2022 Dispatched to Toranomon Hospital, Tokyo

Attachment 2

Age Breakdown of Applicants at Each Stage of the Selection Process
Total Applicants
(Age as of March 2022)
Applicants passing document screening
(Age as of March 2022)
Applicants passing pre-selection
(Age as of March 2022)
Applicants passing first selection round
(Age as of September 2022)
Applicants passing second selection round
(Age as of December 2022)
Applicants passing third selection round
(Age as of February 2023)
Total 4,127 2,266 205 50 10 2
20s or younger 811 (19.7%) 483 (21.3%) 61 (29.8%) 12 (24.0%) 1 (10.0%) 1 (50.0%)
30s 1,850 (44.8%) 1,084 (47.8%) 107 (52.2%) 30 (60.0%) 7 (70.0%) 0 (0.0%)
40s 973 (23.6%) 513 (22.6%) 31 (15.1%) 8 (16.0%) 2 (20.0%) 1 (50.0%)
50s 424 (10.3%) 163 (7.2%) 6 (2.9%) 0 (0.0%) 0 (0.0%) 0 (0.0%)
60s or older 69 (1.7%) 23 (1.0%) 0 (0.0%) 0 (0.0%) 0 (0.0%) 0 (0.0%)

*Note that percentages may not always add up to exactly 100% due to rounding up or down to one decimal point

Attachment 3

Messages for the Newly Selected Astronaut Candidates from
Senior JAXA Astronauts (Selected in 2008)

●Astronaut YUI Kimiya

Mr. Suwa, Ms. Yoneda, I would like to offer you both my deepest congratulations as you start your road to becoming a JAXA astronaut, having major way through the many difficult tests in the selection process. We are delighted that you will both be joining us as new colleagues. I hope you will give it everything to achieve your next goal, official certification as a JAXA astronaut. We are here to answer any questions that you may have. I hope that we can all help each other, working together to improve our skills, as we make space our workplace for the benefit of people in Japan and humanity all around the world.

●Astronaut ONISHI Takuya

Mr. Suwa, Ms. Yoneda, congratulations on your selection after making it through the long and demanding selection process. Perhaps you still find it difficult to imagine what lies ahead, but the daily training program you are about to commence will surely equip you with the skills required for space missions, so please don’t worry too much. I look forward to working with you, helping each other to improve our skills. I would also like to express my immense respect for all 4,125 people who applied to become an astronaut candidate.

●Astronaut KANAI Norishige

Mr. Suwa, Ms. Yoneda, we welcome you to the Astronaut Group at JAXA. I am delighted to have new members join our team. Your knowledge and experience will contribute to greater diversity on the team and I am hopeful that together we will now be able to make greater contributions to the development of low earth orbit missions, including private-sector missions, as well as future missions to explore the lunar surface.