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Nobel winner Yoshino says time in Sweden 'passed in a flash'

Akira Yoshino, a co-winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in chemistry, shows his medal at a press conference at Narita airport near Tokyo on Dec. 15, 2019, held upon his arrival after a series of Nobel-related events in Stockholm, including the Dec. 10 award ceremony. His wife Kumiko can be seen beside him. (Kyodo)

NARITA, Japan (Kyodo) -- Japanese scientist Akira Yoshino returned home on Sunday after receiving the Nobel Prize in chemistry at a ceremony in Sweden, saying his time there "passed in a flash."

Suggesting he got a sense of fulfillment from his trip to Stockholm from Dec. 5, Yoshino, who won the prize for his contribution to the development of lithium-ion batteries, said also that he felt "relief" that it all went well.

During a press conference at Narita airport near Tokyo, the 71-year-old honorary fellow at Japanese chemical company Asahi Kasei Corp. said children at a local school where he visited to give a lecture were particularly impressive.

"I strongly felt their interest in environmental issues," he said. "It is our responsibility to pave the way (for solving problems)."

He shared this year's prize with U.S. scientist John Goodenough and Britain's Stanley Whittingham.

Based on prior research by Goodenough and Whittingham, Yoshino, Japan's 27th Nobel laureate, in 1985 created the first commercially viable lithium-ion batteries, lightweight rechargeable power sources currently used in a wide range of electronic devices, including smartphones and laptop computers.

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