Yakitori has become the first canned meat product certified by Japan's space agency, meaning astronauts will be able to enjoy grilled chicken during missions on the International Space Station.

"We hope they will enjoy (canned yakitori) during their recreation in zero gravity space," said an official of Hotei Foods Corp.

The Shizuoka-based company has sold the chargrilled chicken, a popular accompaniment during drinking in Japan, in canned form since 1970.

Two commercially available flavors of its flagship product -- soy sauce and yuzu pepper -- received agency certification after meeting the criteria for space food, including not scattering in space and having a shelf life of at least 18 months at room temperature.

The products, which also met Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency standards for production and hygiene management, received the certification in late October, more than two and a half years after being submitted for consideration.

The space food versions of the cans will include hook-and-loop fasteners on their sides to prevent them from floating away in zero gravity. Commemorative cans including the Japanese Space Food logo will go on sale early next year for a limited time.

The company said Japanese Space Food certification had been granted to 36 products from 20 companies and groups as of Oct. 25.