Decision follows multimillion-dollar humanitarian donation and international criticism.

In recent weeks, numerous international organizations have announced that they will not be doing business in Russia as a form of protest against the country’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine. One noticeable exception has been Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo, which has kept its Russian stores open during the conflict, with Tadashi Yanai, CEO of Uniqlo parent company Fast Retailing, taking the position that “Clothes are a life necessity” that the Russian people should not be denied because of the actions of their government.

That position has brought Uniqlo criticism from multiple sides, including from Sergiy Korsunsky, the Ukrainian ambassador in Japan. On Thursday, though Fast Retailing announced that it has now decided that it will suspend operations in Russia. The decision will temporarily close all 50 Russian Uniqlo stores, which account for roughly 40 percent of the chain’s branches in Europe.

Uniqlo’s change of heart on closing its Russian stores follows a US$10 million donation that Fast Retailing announced for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees last week, prior to Korsunsky’s condemnation of the company. The donation also includes a total of 200,000 pieces of Uniqlo clothing, blankets, and masks to be distributed to Ukrainian people forced to flee their homes during the conflict.

“Fast Retailing is strongly against any acts of hostility. We condemn all forms of aggression that violate human rights and threaten the peaceful existence of individuals,” the company says in its statement.

Source: Fast Retailing, NHK, Asahi Shimbun Digital via Yahoo! Japan News via Kinisoku
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