On Monday, there will be an announcement from SpaceX of moon orbiting tourist. The word is that the tourist is from Japan. The cost of the flight will probably be over $150 million.
The Japanese billionaire was announced as Yusaku Maezawa. So Nextbigfuture was correct in calling him as my favorite.
The first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard BFR is fashion innovator and globally recognized art curator Yusaku Maezawa.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 18, 2018
Moon Orbiting mission on a BFR
The new trip is to fly around the moon, but on the SpaceX BFR rocket. There will now only be one passenger. SpaceX BFR will not be flying until 2021 and would not be ready to fly passengers until 2022-2024.
The Apollo 8 mission was a moon orbiting mission.
Possible Japanese billionaires
Elon Musk tweeted a japanese flag when asked about who the tourist is. The announcement will be made on Monday.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 14, 2018
There are only a few Japanese Billionaires. Forbes has a list of 48 japanese billionaires and two almost billionaires. There are only about fifteen people with a billion dollars or more with a suitable age. Although the list could be expanded because of people with private wealth or they could be a close relative of one of the wealthiest people. You could have a 40-55 year old son of someone who is 75-95 on the wealthiest list. Most of the space tourists who have gone to orbit have been men. I think Anousheh Ansari was the only female space tourist.
Charles Simonyi and Dennis Tito both flew to orbit when they were 61 years old.
The most likely candidates are those younger than 60 or an exceptionally healthy person up to 70 years old. The person should not have a role where if they went to space their business interests would be at risk. They should not have large shareholders or a board who would veto a trip. Although they could retire or step down between now and the trip. The flight will not happen for four to six years. This rules out even more of the older billionaires.
Yusaku is rich, young and is willing to spend a lot of his money on his own interests. Yusaku is my personal top pick.
Kenji Kasahara is worth $1.5 billion and is 42. Kasahara founded social networking site Mixi in 2004; it went public in 2006. In 2013 Mixi was losing customers and investors as competitors raced ahead. Kasahara stepped down as CEO but stayed on as chairman. He refocused the business on mobile gaming, e-commerce, dating and apartment hunting. Mixi’s popular Monster Strike game has been downloaded tens of millions of times.
Yasumitsu Shigeta is worth about $5.4 billion and is 55 years old. Shigeta is CEO of Tokyo-listed Hikari Tsushin, which sells mobile phones at its HIT Shop chain of stores. The company also sells insurance and office equipment.
There are three Kobayashi Brothers. They inherited wealth in cosmetics. They are worth $4.1 billion.
Daisuke Enomoto is a 47-year-old Japanese businessman and former livedoor executive who hoped to become the fourth space tourist. He had trained at Star City, Moscow in Russia to fly with two members of Expedition 14 on board Soyuz TMA-9, which was launched on September 18, 2006. He had chronic kidney stones which caused him to not get flown to orbit. He tried to sue to recover the $21 million.
Masahiro Miki is worth $3.5 billion and is 63. He was a former amateur boxer and still seems very healthy. Miki founded ABC-Mart in the 1980s. He stepped down as chairman of the publicly-traded company in 2007.
Mikitani is the founder and chairman of Rakuten, a Japanese online retailer with more than 1.2 billion users worldwide. The Tokyo-based company provides more than 70 business services, including e-commerce website Rakuten and messenger app Viber. It reported revenue of 944.5 billion yen ($8.4 billion) in 2017.
Quite rich but probably too old but do they have a relative they wanted to fund?
Takemitsu Takizaki is the founder of Keyence, a Japanese electronic sensor maker. He is worth $16.3 billion. The Osaka-based company makes products that are used on assembly lines by customers such as Toyota and Toshiba, and had revenue of 527 billion Japanese yen ($4.8 billion) in the year to March 20, 2018. Takizaki stepped down as company chairman in 2015. He is 73. He is a bit old but has the money and is retired.
Japan’s richest person is the chairman and biggest shareholder of Fast Retailing, the largest clothing retailer in Asia and parent of Uniqlo. The Tokyo-based group has about 1,000 stores and reported revenue of 1.9 trillion yen ($16.9 billion) in the year to Aug. 31, 2017. Yanai also owns two golf courses on Hawaiian island, Maui.
Son is the founder and largest shareholder of SoftBank, a Japanese mobile phone and investment group. The Tokyo-based company owns stakes in more than 1,000 businesses, including Yahoo Japan and Alibaba. It has more than 68,000 employees and reported revenue of 9.2 trillion yen ($82.7 billion) in the year to March 31, 2018.
Masayoshi is a futurist thinker who was an internet pioneer. He is close to being young enough. However, he is so active running Softbank and Softbank Vision fund that I do not he would be allowed to fly around the moon by his investors.