In a stunning reversal, Fast Retailing announced in Japan that they have temporarily halted the operations of Uniqlo in Russia
Uniqlo at ION Orchard
In less than five working days, Fast Retailing’s CEO Tadashi Yanai has reviewed his position on keeping Uniqlo stores open in Russia. According to a Nikkei report published online just minutes ago, Uniqlo’s parent company has announced today that they have suspended trading in Russia. Uniqlo stores—50 of them across the country, according to Nikkei—operated until yesterday (9 March 2022). Mr Yanai was quoted to have said through a company statement: “We have decided to suspend the business due to changes in the current situation surrounding the dispute and various difficulties in continuing business.” The quick turnabout surprised many who believe that the Fast Retailing boss would stick to his contrarian stand.
Mr Yanai had said days earlier that he would not close any Uniqlo store in Russia as he believed “clothing is a necessity of life” and that “the people of Russia have the same right to live as we do”. Ukraine’s ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky responded via Twitter immediately: “Uniqlo has decided that (the) basic need of #Russian(s) to have pants and T-shirts are more important than the basic needs of Ukranians to live.” Mr Yanai made no further mention of clothing as the necessity of life. On social media, many have vehemently condemned Mr Yanai’s comments and decision. Trending was the hashtag #BoycottUNIQLO. It is not known what other pressures he faced before coming to this action that is in line, although belatedly, with those of other brands such as Levi’s, Zara, H&M, and Mango.
File photo: Chin Boh Kay for SOTD