The world’s view on the United States is changing as it faces country-wide protests following the murder of George Floyd, according to 71-year-old Japanese billionaire Tadashi Yanai.
Yanai, who is the current CEO, chairman, and president of Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing, recently spoke with CNN Business about the current state of the U.S.
He pointed out that his company’s operations were hit hard in some cities in the country when the protests started, including New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
“The very image of America is breaking,” he told the network in an exclusive interview. “I truly hope that this will have a positive impact in the long term, just like the Civil Rights Movement.”
“It shows just how devastated the US spirit is. The political situation is untenable. It’s not working,” Yanai added. “There needs to be a stronger desire to take positive civic action when there are social problems. It’s wrong to keep ignoring them like some are now.”
Yanai was born in southern Japan in 1949 to a housewife mother and a tailor father who opened up his own clothing store, according to Bloomberg’s profile. He is currently the richest man in Japan with an estimated net worth of $30.4 billion.
He started Uniqlo, which had the longer name of Unique Clothing Warehouse, in Hiroshima in 1984. Yanai then changed his father’s company’s name, Ogori Shoji, to Fast Retailing in 1991.
With the U.S. facing a racial equality crisis and the world battling the COVID- 19 pandemic, Yanai said they are using these events “as a catalyst for change.”
“What’s essential? What’s non-essential? Why are we in business? We’re being asked these fundamental questions,” he said. “As a company, we are asking ourselves why we exist.”