Japanese billionaire distributes $ 9 million to Twitter followers

Yusaku Maezawa has time and money to lose, but also political convictions.

Spotted by Benjamin Bruel on Reuters

"Money does not make people happy, but it contributes to it," says the famous proverb. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, creator of ready-to-wear lines and online sales site Zozotown, wants to believe this assertion - so much so that he decided to put it into practice.

On January 1, 2020, the entrepreneur announced on Twitter that he would distribute $ 9 million [8.1 million euros] to 1,000 of his followers, or $ 9,000 per person, as part of a "social experiment »To determine if the sum received stimulates the happiness of elected officials.

Maezawa, who also launched a YouTube channel where he distributes vlogs, insisted on the seriousness of his approach and indicated that he hoped to encourage economists and academics to join him to better analyze the results of this Willy-style lottery Wonka.

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Yusaku Maezawa is known for his eccentricities.

He acquired a certain international notoriety for being the first person to have reserved a place to fly to the Moon aboard a SpaceX rocket, but also for his expenses in sports cars and art or his pronounced taste for smoky conspiracy theories.

On Twitter, he also shares many political ideas, such as that of a world without money. In his video presentation of the project, Yusaku Maezawa emphasizes that his final objective is above all to arouse Japanese interest in the universal basic income.

If the idea is slowly gaining ground in certain political circles - notably in the United States, with the success of the campaign of the democratic candidate Andrew Yang, who made it his hobbyhorse -, it seems that seen from Japan, the concept remains extremely marginal.