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Tycoons on 2020 "Forbes Japan Rich List" Weather the Storm
Total Wealth of the 50 Richest Is Down Only 5%
Masayoshi Son
SINGAPORE — Tycoons on the 2020 Forbes Japan Rich List have been relatively unscathed by the Covid-19 pandemic so far, with their combined wealth down only 5% to US$168 billion. The complete list can be found in the May and June issue of Forbes Asia and the July issue of Forbes Japan.

The list is also available at www.forbes.com/japan and www.forbesjapan.com/feat/japanrich

Despite a $1 trillion stimulus package announced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in early April to combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus, Japan is bracing for a downturn. With the declaration of a national emergency and the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games to next year, businesses are certain to take a hit. However, the yen has strengthened slightly against the dollar since March 2019, when fortunes were last measured, while the benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index has fallen more than 11%.

In all, just over half, or 28 listees saw their net worth decline. Among them is retail magnate Tadashi Yanai. His wealth shrank by $2.6 billion, though he remains the country’s richest for the second consecutive year with a $22.3 billion fortune. Following the outbreak, Yanai’s Fast Retailing closed stores in China, the U.S. and Europe, although most stores in China have since reopened.
SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son took the biggest hit in dollar terms. His net worth fell by $3.5 billion to $20.5 billion after setbacks such as the shelved IPO of office-sharing firm WeWork, in which SoftBank is the largest shareholder. Son remains at No. 2 on the list and is also featured on the cover of the May/June issue of Forbes Asia.

Seventeen listees saw their wealth rise, led by Takemitsu Takizaki (No. 3). The founder of Keyence, a maker of sensors, added $1.2 billion to his fortune for a total of $19.8 billion. Keyence enjoys high margins for its factory automation products and being cash-rich is well-placed to withstand any sales decline. Nobutada Saji of Suntory Holdings retains the No. 4 spot with a net worth of $9.4 billion, even as his fortune, which he shares with family, fell by $1.4 billion compared to a year ago.

Rounding out the top 5 is Takahisa Takahara, president and CEO of Tokyo-based Unicharm. Surging demand for the company’s face masks and disinfectant wipes has boosted its shares by more than 11% since last year, lifting the net worth of Takahara by 13% to $5.9 billion.

Another notable gainer is Masahiro Noda (No. 16), founder of IT systems integrator Obic. Noda’s fortune rose by a third to $3.14 billion, tracking a 32% gain in the company’s shares.

Pachinko mogul Kazuo Okada (No. 34), founder of Universal Entertainment, on the other hand, saw the biggest drop in percentage terms. His net worth declined 42% to $1.19 billion. Okada’s wealth is one of 38 fortunes worth $1 billion or more on the list, seven fewer than a year ago.

There are three new entrants, including Yoshio Tsuchiya (No. 12), the richest newcomer with a net worth of $3.3 billion. His listed apparel retailer Workman makes and sells clothes and other gear for factory and construction workers. Shigefumi Wada (No. 31, $1.25 billion) is cofounder of listed business solutions software provider Obic Business Consultants, in which Masahiro Noda’s firm is an investor. Masaru Wasami (No. 43), founder of logistics outfit Maruwa Unyu Kikan, also joins the list with $940 million. His company counts Amazon as one of its customers.

Two tycoons returned to this year’s list: Hirokazu Sugiura (No. 45), founder of drugstore chain Sugi Holdings, with a net worth of $910 million, and Yoji Sato (No. 50), who just made the cut with a fortune of $810 million. Sato’s Dynam Japan Holdings is one of the country’s biggest pachinko operators. A tech fortune previously listed under Minoru and Yuji Otsuka (No. 17, $3.13 billion) is now listed under son Yuji, after his father Minoru’s death last September.

Five dropped from the ranks, including discount clothing retailer Nobutoshi Shimamura. The minimum to make the list was $810 million, down from $900 million last year.

The top 10 richest in Japan are:
1) Tadashi Yanai; US$22.3 billion
2) Masayoshi Son; $20.5 billion
3) Takemitsu Takizaki; $19.8 billion
4) Nobutada Saji; $9.4 billion
5) Takahisa Takahara; $5.9 billion
6) Hiroshi Mikitani; $5.4 billion
7) Yasumitsu Shigeta; $4.7 billion
8) Hideyuki Busujima; $4.1 billion
9) Akio Nitori; $4 billion
10) Akira Mori; $3.9 billion

The list was compiled using information from the individuals, stock exchanges, analysts, company filings and other sources. Private companies were valued by using financial ratios and other comparisons with similar, publicly traded companies. Fortunes often include assets owned by other family members. Net worths were based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on April 10, 2020 and hence in some cases differ from the net worths that appear on the World’s Billionaires list, which used stock prices from March 18, 2020.

For more information, visit www.forbes.com/japan and www.forbesjapan.com/feat/japanrich

About Forbes

The defining voice of entrepreneurial capitalism, Forbes champions success by celebrating those who have made it, and those who aspire to make it. Forbes convenes and curates the most influential leaders and entrepreneurs who are driving change, transforming business and making a significant impact on the world. The Forbes brand today reaches more than 120 million people worldwide through its trusted journalism, signature LIVE events, custom marketing programs and 40 licensed local editions in 70 countries. Forbes Media’s brand extensions include real estate, education and financial services license agreements.

For media queries, please contact:
Catherine Ong Associates Pte Ltd
Catherine Ong Ashley Silitonga
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