Forbes magazine have just published their latest rich list covering Japan’s 40 richest. This year retail tycoon Tadashi Yanai, whose discount clothing chain Uniqlo has added $1.4 billion to his wealth to elevate him to the No. 1 spot from No.6 in last year's ranking. He is now worth $6.1 billion, becoming the fifth person in as many years to take the top spot. Japan's 40 Richest are now worth a combined $69.5 billion, down from $89.9 billion in May, when Forbes published the 2008 rankings. Even the soaring yen, which recently hit a 13-year high against the US dollar, couldn't pull up these dollar-based fortunes.
Twenty-eight of the 40 richest lost money, including everyone in the top 10, excluding Tadashi Yanai. Nintendo's Hiroshi Yamauchi, whose net worth fell by $3.3 billion, slipped from first to third place. Kazuo Okada, who founded pachiko and slots company Aruze, and Yasumitsu Shigeta, who runs telecom provider Hikari Tsushin, have both lost half their fortunes since our last rankings. Another 13 list members declined 25% or more. The year's richest newcomer is Internet entrepreneur Yoshikazu Tanaka. He debuted his social networking site Gree on Mothers Market for small high-growth stocks in December. The stock is trading at two-thirds above the listing price, with a higher market cap than rival Mixi, run by Kenji Kasahara, who just makes the ranking at No. 40 with a net worth of $480 million. Also joining the list are the Tada brothers, who share a stake in discount drug chain Sundrug, and Hirokazu Sugiura, founder of Sugi Pharmacy
Unlike other the Forbes billionaires' rankings, which highlight individual fortunes, Japan's top 40 includes numerous family fortunes. The list was compiled using shareholder and financial information obtained from the families and individuals themselves, stock exchanges and analysts. Stock prices and exchange rates were locked in on Feb. 6. Private companies were valued based on comparison with prevailing price-to-earnings or other financial ratios.
The full list is available from the Forbes website
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