Softbank President Son Pledges $120 Million and Salary for Disaster Relief

Softbank Corp. (9984) President Masayoshi Son, Japan’s richest man, pledged to donate 10 billion yen ($120 million) and his remaining salary until retirement to help support victims of the nation’s biggest postwar disaster.

Japan’s third-largest wireless carrier will donate 1 billion yen in addition to Son’s personal contribution, Tokyo- based Softbank said in a statement. Son will give away his salary from this fiscal year to support children orphaned by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, it said.

The amount trumps the 1 billion yen committed by Fast Retailing Co. President Tadashi Yanai as the biggest contribution announced by an individual to aid victims of what Prime Minister Naoto Kan has described as the country’s worst crisis since World War II. Japanese and overseas financial firms had pledged about 9.1 billion yen as of March 30.

Son, 53, earned 108 million yen in salary and 1.3 billion yen in dividends in the fiscal year ended March 2010, Softbank said in June. His 21 percent stake in the company is valued at more than 740 billion yen, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Forbes magazine ranks him as Japan’s richest man.

Since the earthquake struck, Son has been updating his 1 million Twitter followers on what he and Softbank are doing to help relief efforts and to fix downed phone lines. He has met governors in the disaster areas to offer assistance, stopped charging for some services and visited shelters.

Among foreign financial companies, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) has pledged 500 million yen, Morgan Stanley (MS) is donating $1.2 million and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) will give away as much as $6 million, the companies said in separate statements.

Rakuten Inc. President Hiroshi Mikitani has also pledged 1 billion yen, according to the Tokyo-based Internet retailer.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at palpeyev@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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