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Uniqlo's CEO defends trading in Russia and argues clothing is a "necessity of life"

Camilla Rydzek
08 March 2022

Founder of Uniqlo's parent company Fast Retailing, Tadashi Yanai, has defended the company's decision to keep trading in Russia, stating that he feels clothing is a "necessity of life".

Uniqlo announced that its 49 stores in Russia will remain operational and that it will "monitor the situation."

Yanai, who is also Uniqlo's CEO, told Japan's Nikkei newspaper: "There should never be war. Every country should oppose it," but added "clothing is a necessity of life. The people of Russia have the same right to live as we do."

The founder also questioned the trend of pressuring companies to make political choices.

Fast retailing announced last week that "in response to the humanitarian emergency in Ukraine" it was donating £7.6 million to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR to support relief efforts. The company also announced that it was donating 100,000 pieces of clothing and other items, including Heattech blankets and innerwear, as well as masks.

The news comes as a host of global companies have ceased trading in Russia following the large-scale military invasion of the country into Ukraine. Zara and Next are two of the most recent fashion retailers that have ceased trading, following the likes of JD Sports, H&M, Prada and Hèrmes.

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