On Friday, December 1, 2023, Ritsumeikan held a press conference at its Tokyo Campus to announce the appointment of former Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi as a Pro Vice President.

To date, Pro Vice President Noguchi has demonstrated outstanding leadership in a wide variety of fields. He has participated in three successful space missions, and he holds a Guinness Book world record as the only person to have returned to Earth via three different methods.

At the press conference, President Yoshio Nakatani explained that Ritsumeikan aims to become a next-generation research university in accordance with its R2030 Academy Vision . Pro Vice President Noguchi's vision is consistent with Ritsumeikan's plan to become a next-generation research university, and expectations are high for his role in helping to pilot Ritsumeikan into the future. In addition, to his appointment as Pro Vice President, Mr. Noguchi will also be appointed as a Research Advisor to the Ritsumeikan University Earth & Space Exploration Center (ESEC) that was established in July 2023. In his speech he touched on this point as follows: “By way of my activities at ESEC, leveraging my passion and vision for space and providing advice from a new perspective, I hope to communicate Ritsumeikan University's activities and vision more widely to the generate public and have a positive impact on researchers who focus on space as well as on the students who will be our future leaders.”

Next, Pro Vice President Noguchi commented on his expectations for this position by saying, “Ritsumeikan is a comprehensive academy that encompasses every level of education from the primary to the university level, and it is gradually building momentum for its space-related activities. With the ESEC and Professor Saiki’s work on the Small Lander for Investigating the Moon (SLIM), Ritsumeikan is committed to ongoing JAXA projects and exhibits a great affinity with those projects. Based on its amazing vision of ‘contributing to the preservation and expansion of the humanosphere,’ I believe the ESEC will move forward with meaningful activities.”
Finally, Mr. Noguchi commented on his aspirations by saying, “I want to tell young people who are interested in space that now is a really great time to start a career, and that there is a lot of potential and many career possibilities in space-related industries. I want to inspire students and researchers.”

President Yoshio Nakatani
President Yoshio Nakatani
Pro Vice President Soichi Noguchi
Pro Vice President Soichi Noguchi

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