May 1, 2017 4:40 pm JST

Ex-Yahoo Japan head built foundation for online business

Masahiro Inoue, former right-hand man of SoftBank's Son, died in accident at 60

SATOSHI MOROTOMI, Nikkei staff writer

Masahiro Inoue

TOKYO -- Former Yahoo Japan President Masahiro Inoue died in a traffic accident on April 25 in California at the age of 60.

Before taking up the post in 1996, Inoue worked for SoftBank, which today is SoftBank Group, where he was a close aide to company founder Masayoshi Son, who is now the group's CEO.

One of Inoue's major achievements is "Yahoo! Japan," an information search service set up in April 1996. Under Inoue's guidance, it became the largest web portal in Japan. Inoue significantly expanded the scope of online business by offering not just search services, but a variety of content, from news and weather information to auctions and other e-commerce services. 

A person who knew Inoue when he was leading Yahoo Japan said the president was "demanding when it came to work" and "reticent, but his explanations were clear and concise."

Today, Yahoo offers more than 100 services to some 60 million users every month.

Since leaving the post in June 2012, Inoue had not been involved in management of the company.

Yahoo issued a statement expressing "gratitude for Inoue's kindnesses" and offered "heartfelt condolences."

The foundation for Japan's online business that Inoue built is a major achievement.

SoftBank Group Corp.

Japan

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