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Tycoons on Forbes Japan List See Wealth Rise despite Weak Economic Growth
Tadashi Yanai Ranks No. 1, Masayoshi Son No. 2
Masayoshi Son

SINGAPORE (April 7, 2016) — The wealth of half the tycoons on this year’s Forbes Japan Rich List rose in the past year. A good deal of the growth has come as a result of tapping foreign consumers, either through acquisition or overseas expansion, in addition to a stronger Japanese yen. The complete list can be found at as well as in the latest issue of Forbes Asia, available on newsstands now.

The upticks in net worth occurred despite a drop in the Nikkei index, which fell 14% in the past year. The decline impacted the net worths of several tycoons on the list and was significant enough to drive down the collective wealth of Japan’s 50 richest to US$137 billion, down from $141 billion a year ago.

Fashion tycoon Tadashi Yanai retains the top spot on this year’s list with a net worth of $16.3 billion, despite a $4.8 billion decline in his fortune. Fast Retailing, the parent company of clothing chain Uniqlo, had to cut its revenue forecasts when warm weather affected the sales of its cold-weather gear. Ever the optimist, Yanai is predicting that Fast Retailing will be the world’s largest apparel retailer by 2020.

Masayoshi Son ranks No. 2 on the list with a net worth of $14.9 billion, a $1 billion gain from the previous year. SoftBank, his mobile telecom powerhouse, acquired struggling US-based carrier Sprint Nextel for $22 billion in 2013 and has been working to turn it
around, so far with limited success. Its most profitable investment of late is its 32% stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

At No. 3 is 70-year old Nobutada Saji and his family with a net worth of $11.7 billion, up $800 million from last year. Saji is the Chairman of drinks powerhouse Suntory Holdings, which bought U.S. Beam, purveyor of Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbon, for $16 billion in 2014. He stepped down as President in 2014, turning the reins over to a non family member for the first time since the business was founded. Saji’s nephew, Nobuhiro Torii, the great-grandson of Suntory’s Founder and a fourth generation family member, was promoted to Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of the company.

Takemitsu Takizaki, Founder of Keyence, a global supplier of sensors and other electronic components for factory automation systems, moved up one spot to No. 4 this year with a net worth of $8.3 billion, $500 million lower than the previous year. Takizaki stepped down as Chairman in March 2015 but remains Honorary Chairman and has a seat on the board. The company, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, is known to attract top
talent with performance-based pay.

Cosmetics and beauty supplies companies perform well on this year’s list with both the year’s richest new entrant and its biggest percentage gainer. The Kobayashi brothers (No. 19, $2.1 billion) who run listed Japanese cosmetics manufacturer and retailer Kose Corp., catapulted into the ranks for the first time, thanks to a more than 50% increase in Kose stock in the past year. Another cosmetics maven, Satoshi Suzuki (No. 33, $1.1 billion), is this
year’s biggest percentage gainer. The CEO of beauty care products company Pola Orbis saw his fortune surge 69% in the past year as investors and customers responded well to the
company’s focus on natural and organic products.

There are five newcomers on this year’s list. In addition to the Kobayashi brothers, they include retailers such as Masateru Uno (No. 24, $1.55 billion), whose Cosmos Pharmaceutical runs drugstores in Japan; and Yasuaki Yamanishi (No. 39, $940 million) of clothing and food seller Izumi. Also new to the list are Akimitsu Sano (No. 42, $880 million), Founder of online recipe site Cookpad; and home builder Kazumi Iida and her son Kazuki
Iida (No. 46, $820 million).

The minimum amount required to make the list was $750 million, up from $600 million last year.

The top 10 richest in Japan are:

1) Tadashi Yanai; US$16.3 billion
2) Masayoshi Son; $14.9 billion
3) Nobutada Saji; $11.7 billion
4) Takemitsu Takizaki; $8.3 billion
5) Hiroshi Mikitani; $5.7 billion
6) Akira Mori; $4.8 billion
7) Keiichiro Takahara; $4.2 billion
8) Kunio & Hideyuki Busujima; $4.1 billion
9) Han Chang-Woo; $4.0 billion
10) Masatoshi Ito; $3.9 billion

The list was compiled using information obtained from list members, public company data, stock exchanges, analysts, databases and government agencies. Unlike the billionaire

ranks, wealth of extended families is included. Net worths were based on stock prices and exchange rates as of Mar. 25, 2016.

For more information, visit

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