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Uniqlo defends decision to continue operations in Russia

People shop at a Uniqlo retail clothing store in the Hudson Yards shopping mall in New York City on December 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
People shop at a Uniqlo retail clothing store in the Hudson Yards shopping mall in New York City on December 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

TOKYO — The parent company of Japanese casualwear giant Uniqlo defends a decision to keep Russian stores open even as rivals Zara and H&M suspend operations in the country following its invasion of Ukraine.

Tadashi Yanai, president of Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing, says the conflict should not deprive people in Russia of clothing, a basic human need.

“There should never be war. Every country should oppose it. This time all of Europe clearly opposes the war and has shown its support for Ukraine. Any attempt to divide the world will, on the contrary, strengthen unity,” he says in a statement.

“Clothing is a necessity of life. The people of Russia have the same right to live as we do,” Yanai addd.

There are 49 Uniqlo stores in Russia.

A Fast Retailing spokesman says the company will “continue to monitor the situation” but there were “no plans as of now to suspend our operations.”

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