As the world emerges from the throes of the pandemic, Japan’s economy is experiencing an uplifting resurgence. The reopening of its borders to tourists and a revitalization in consumer spending have breathed new life into Japan’s economy in the first quarter of 2023. This rekindled economic vitality, complemented by a thriving stock market with the benchmark index witnessing an 11% surge, has led to a significant rise in the collective wealth of Japan’s 50 richest, hitting a remarkable $192 billion.
Over half of Japan’s wealthiest have seen their fortunes increase in comparison to the previous year, while the order of the top five remains consistent. Retail mogul Tadashi Yanai emerges as the most prominent gainer in absolute terms this year, with an addition of a staggering $11.8 billion to his wealth. This phenomenal growth strengthens his standing as Japan’s richest person. The skyrocketing sales of Fast Retailing, the parent company of popular clothing brand Uniqlo, have fueled a 50% hike in his net worth, reaching $35.4 billion.
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Retaining his position at the second spot is Takemitsu Takizaki, the founder of sensor manufacturer Keyence. Takizaki witnessed a $1 billion increase in his wealth, reaching a total net worth of $22.6 billion. Despite experiencing a minor dip in his fortune, Masayoshi Son maintains his place in the top three. Investment markdowns at SoftBank Group, which announced a $7.3 billion loss for the fiscal year ending March 2023, led to a reduction in Son’s wealth to $20.9 billion.
Numerous other individuals also experienced a boost in their fortunes. Takahisa Takahara, for instance, saw his net worth climb by $1.1 billion to $7.5 billion as Unicharm, his personal care products company founded by his late father, witnessed a 22% jump in its stock price due to increased sales. Yoshiaki Yoshida, founder of the cosmetics and health food company DHC, enjoyed a 50% rise in his wealth to $1.55 billion following the acquisition of his firm by financial services behemoth Orix in January at a valuation of $2.4 billion.
The list of Japan’s wealthiest this year welcomes three new entrants. Among them are Kenzo Tsujimoto, founder of video games company Capcom and owner of Kenzo Estate winery in California, with a net worth of $1.2 billion. Fumio Kaneko, president and co-founder of waste management firm Daiei Kankyo, boasts a net worth of $1.1 billion. The Ito siblings make their debut on the list with a combined wealth of $4.7 billion, inherited from their father Masatoshi Ito’s 7-Eleven retailing empire, following his passing in March at the age of 98.
However, the rising tide did not lift all boats. A dozen on the list saw a decrease in their wealth. Hiroshi Mikitani, the founder of e-commerce giant Rakuten, experienced a decline of 18% in his net worth, dropping to $3.6 billion. This fall, the most significant in percentage terms, led to him sliding six spots down to the 13th position. His company Rakuten listed its online lending subsidiary, Rakuten Bank, but continued to report losses due to investments in its mobile phone business.
The list also saw three individuals making a return. These include Masayuki Ishihara, who derives his wealth from his stake in pachinko machine maker Heiwa; Takanori Nakamura, founder of cloud software firm Rakus; and Yoshiko Shinohara, chairman emeritus of staffing firm Persol Holdings, who made a comeback after a four-year hiatus.
Lastly, the minimum net worth required to make it onto the list saw an increase from $925 million last year to $965 million this year, signaling the growing affluence among Japan’s wealthiest.
This information was sourced from Forbes.