NASA‘s impending Artemis program will include a Japanese astronaut, US President Joe Biden has said.

Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met in Tokyo on Monday where they announced progress on collaboration for human and robotic lunar missions.

They confirmed their commitment to include a Japanese astronaut aboard the lunar Gateway outpost and their shared ambition to see a future Japanese astronaut land on the Moon as part of the Artemis mission.

“In recent years, the alliance between Japan and the United States has grown stronger, deeper, and more capable as we work together to take on new challenges — just as important as the opportunities — of a rapidly changing world,” the US President added.

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“A great example of this: We viewed Japan’s lunar rover… a symbol of how our space cooperation is taking off, looking towards the Moon and to Mars. And I’m excited about the work we’ll do together on the Gateway station around the Moon and look forward to the first Japanese astronaut joining us in the mission to the lunar surface under the Artemis program,” he said.

The US and Japan are working to formalize the Japanese astronaut’s inclusion on Gateway through an implementing arrangement later this year.

As part of ongoing collaborations on space and Earth science missions, Biden and Kishida reaffirmed the US and Japan’s continued cooperation on Earth science data sharing to improve scientific understanding of the Earth’s changing climate.

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