The Angkasawan of Malaysia: Part I

17 years ago, journalist Akiyama Toyohiro (秋山豊寛) was the first passanger to go to space with private fund. On December 2, 1990, he flew on the Russian Soyuz TM-11 to the Mir space station.

Akiyama's main purpose in Mir is to conduct live television broadcast to celebrate the 40th annivesary of Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS, 株式会社東京放送), and I believe that this is surely some marketing gimmicks. But there was a very expensive price to pay, for his 190 hours in space, his boss at TBS spent approximately 10 to 20 millions.

When he returned to his hometown in Tokyo, Akiyama was rightfully recognized as the first Japanese cosmonaut (日本人初の宇宙飛行士).

I am not sure whether or not Dr. Mahathir knew about Akiyama. Chances are that he did not know Akiyama back in 1990, otherwise he could have issued a purchase order to the Russian government and included the Angkasawan project in his Wawasan 2020, announced in 1991.

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