The chief executive of Japan’s biggest ecommerce platform said he will personally donate ¥1bn ($8.6mn) to Ukraine, in a rare move among Japanese business leaders to help the eastern European country defend itself.
Hiroshi Mikitani, the CEO of Rakuten, posted a copy of his letter to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to his Twitter early on Sunday, calling the Russian invasion “a challenge to democracy”.
“When I saw your courageous resistance against this unprovoked attack on behalf of Ukraine people, I thought about what I could do for Ukraine in Japan and decided to donate 1bn Japanese Yen ($8.6mn) to the Ukrainian government, for humanitarian activities to help people in Ukraine who are victims of the violence,” Mikitani wrote.
Rakuten, which has an office in Odesa in southern Ukraine, handles businesses including messaging app Viber as well as advertising in the country. Ninety-seven per cent of Ukrainian users have Viber installed on their smartphones, according to the company.
A spokesperson said the company has asked its approximately 125-member team in the country to prioritise their safety. “We have a business continuity plan for our activity in Ukraine and will continue to closely monitor the situation,” they added.