Forbes - Billionaires

5 New Names Join The Ranks Of Japan’s Wealthiest People

This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of Japan’s Richest 2021. See the full list here.

In a pandemic year, Japan has minted billionaires at an unprecedented pace. The five new faces who feature among Japan’s 50 richest this year all own businesses that successfully addressed the needs of a world under lockdown.

As more Japanese companies moved to replace traditional stamped paper documents with digital contracts, shares in Taichiro Motoe’s Bengo4.com, which offers an e-signature service, rose 65% in the past year. Based on his majority stake in the company that he founded 15 years ago, Motoe’s net worth stands at $1.2 billion.

Former McKinsey consultant Itaru Tanimura’s online medical services business M3 helps pharmaceuticals, doctors and their patients access information online over its platforms, eliminating the need for in-person visits. The company netted profits of ¥30 billion ($285 million) for the nine months ending December, up 59% from a year earlier, on ¥123 billion in revenue. M3 shares more than doubled over the past year, boosting Tanimura’s fortune to $1.42 billion.

The Uchiyama family’s Lasertec reported record first-half results in December. The semiconductor-equipment maker is the world’s only supplier of a semiconductor testing machine used by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing to make chips for iPhones. Net profit shot up 50% to ¥8 million on a 60% rise in sales as people stuck at home fueled demand for game consoles, laptops and smartphones, driving knock-on growth for the chipmaking industry. A doubling in shares ratcheted up the family’s net worth to $2.05 billion.

Shirou Terashita’s IR Japan, an investor relations and shareholder advisory firm, saw its stock price jump as rising shareholder activism during the pandemic pushed up demand for its advisory services. For the nine months ended December, IR Japan’s net profit rose 20% to ¥1.9 billion from a year earlier on an 18% increase in sales to ¥6 billion.

A surge in demand for its cloud services more than doubled the share price of Tokyo-listed Rakus in the past year, making founder Takanori Nakamura a billionaire. Nakamura, who studied business at Kobe University, is aiming to make Rakus, best known for its expense management software, Rakuraku Seisan, one of the 100 most valuable companies in Japan by 2030.

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