During the global COVID-19 crisis we all face new challenges and hardships in our daily and working lives. Depending on our circumstances the impact of the pandemic may be felt more strongly, however. Japanese billionaire Yasaka Maezawa has set out to help one demographic in particular to ensure they stay strong to weather the Coronavirus storm.

Mr. Maezawa, a businessman famous for founding ZOZO Inc., the operator of mail-order fashion site ZOZOTOWN, announced the launch of his “Single Parent Support Fund” on May 10th. The fund aims to support single parents who have financial difficulties, likely exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The fund's first initiative will be to distribute a whopping ¥100,000, or $930, to 10,000 single parents across Japan.

Mr. Maezawa announced this generous initiative on May 10th, Mother’s Day in Japan. The focus of the distribution will be single mothers and fathers with children under the age of 20.

Mr. Maezawa is actively involved in social support initiatives, having previously participated in “Child Sponsorships” to support children living in harsh environments.

Speaking about the launch of the “Single Parent Support Fund," Mr. Maezawa had the following to say:

It’s not that I want to help or save people, or volunteer, or anything like that.

Single mothers and fathers have no doubt endured a lot and they exhibit a strength, sometimes a weakness, that I think is so intrinsically human, it’s wonderful.

So to say that the children of single parents are poor is incorrect. Those who have experienced hardships and challenges are often stronger, more kind-hearted than those of us who have not. The kids of single parents grow up seeing the strength and kindness of their mother or father.

When I think about all my friends who were raised by single parents, they’re all kind and they really understand the feelings of others very well.

So I want to make this fund a really positive fund. I want to ensure parents who have been through a lot can keep inspiring their kids with their kindness and growth.

With that, I’m launching the Maezawa Single Parent Support Fund! Due to the Coronavirus, times are hard, but let’s proceed positively. I appreciate your support!

Statement on the homepage of the Maezawa Single Parent Support Fund

With the ongoing spread of COVID-19 and its burden on societies, the struggles of single parents have doubtless intensified recently. We hope Mr. Maezawa’s fund may prove to be a saving grace to some such families.

Single parents could apply to the scheme until May 15th by completing an online questionnaire about life as a single parent.

If the application numbers exceed 10,000, funds will be distributed according to a lottery system. Single parent status will be confirmed before releasing the funds to anyone selected as a recipient.

Mr. Maezwa’s announcement earned heartfelt praises and gratitude from single-parent netizens. Comments like “I face great hardship from reduced income so thank you” and “thank you for your compassion”, show the fund is already a ray of hope to people in need.

We hope that in the future Mr. Maezawa’s fund will continue to help single parents and their kids facing poverty. As a group that are sometimes looked down upon in Japan, single parents doing the best for their kids need more recognition like this.

By - Toby M.