Dr. WAKATA Koichi was born in 1963 in Saitama. In 1996, he flew as the first Japanese Space Shuttle Mission Specialist on STS-72. In 2000, he flew on STS-92, and became the first Japanese astronaut to participate in the assembly of the International Space Station (ISS). In 2009, he was the first Japanese astronaut to complete a long-term stay on the ISS as a crew member of ISS Expeditions 18, 19 and 20. From November 2013 to May 2014, he stayed on the ISS for 188 days as a crew member of Expeditions 38 and 39. On Expedition 39, he led the international crew as the first Japanese Commander of the ISS.