• Kyodo

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Japan’s richest people accumulated more wealth over the past year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with their collective wealth jumping nearly 50%, Forbes Asia reported Thursday.

The collective net worth of the country’s 50 richest people rose 48% to $249 billion from the previous year, thanks to a rebound in exports as well as the benchmark Nikkei Stock Average being up 54% from a year earlier.

For the first time, the wealth of each of the 50 richest has exceeded $1 billion, according to the business magazine’s 2021 ranking, which put SoftBank Group Corp. Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son atop the list.

Son’s net wealth more than doubled to $44.4 billion after successful initial public offerings by companies SoftBank has invested in sent its shares soaring, according to the report.

Fast Retailing Co. Chairman and CEO Tadashi Yanai, whose company is behind the Uniqlo casual clothing chain, came in second, with his wealth surging around 90% to $42.0 billion.

The list also had some new faces, such as founder Itaru Tanimura of medical information portal provider M3 Inc. at No. 40 and founder Takanori Nakamura of cloud services provider Rakus Co. at No. 45.

Bucking the trend were Japanese tycoons whose companies operate pachinko parlors. Their businesses were badly hit by the pandemic.

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