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Uniqlo boss steers course through geopolitical controversies

Tadashi Yanai's Russia U-turn underlines reputational risks facing retailers

Tadashi Yanai, 73, is Japan's richest man, with a family fortune estimated at $26 billion. (Source photos by Kotaro Igarashi and AP) 

TOKYO -- Tadashi Yanai, the outspoken chief executive of Fast Retailing, has repeatedly complained of the pressures on business leaders to take a stand on controversial political topics. Those pressures were on display this week when he refused to close the company's Uniqlo clothing stores in Russia, only to reverse course a few days later.

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