The AP Interview: Japanese tourist says space trip ‘amazing’

MOSCOW (AP) — A Japanese space tourist has rebuffed criticism from those who questioned his decision to pay a fortune for a trip to the International Space Station, saying the “amazing” experience was worth it. Speaking to The Associated Press in a live interview Monday from the space outpost, billionaire fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa said “once you are in space, you realize how much it is worth it by having this amazing experience.” The 46-year-old Maezawa and his 36-year-old producer Yozo Hirano are the first self-paying tourists to visit the space station since 2009. Asked about reports that he paid $80 million for the 12-day mission, Maezawa said he couldn’t disclose the contract sum but added that he paid “pretty much” that amount.