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Yusaku Maezawa Trusts Elon Musk and SpaceX

Maezawa ran an import CD business and played in a rock band before he embarked on his online fashion business with his shopping site Zozotown.

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SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk, left, announces Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa (R) as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon, VOA

The Japanese online retail tycoon who plans to travel to the moon on the SpaceX rocket says he respects and trusts Elon Musk as a fellow entrepreneur, despite his recent troubles.

“Twitter can get you into trouble,” Yusaku Maezawa, chief executive of Zozo Inc., said Tuesday at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Tokyo. “And that can be said of Elon Musk, too.”

Musk’s tweet in August that declared he had secured financing for a Tesla buyout got him in trouble with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Under a settlement, Tesla and Musk each must pay a $20 million penalty. Musk also stepped down as Tesla’s chairman.

Maezawa, 42, who is also quite active on social media, intends to be a passenger on Musk’s Space X, the first-ever private commercial space trip, scheduled for blastoff in 2023, to orbit the moon, in what Maezawa has dubbed his “#dearMoon Project.”

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A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket (VOA)

Maezawa said he got a good feel for Musk’s character by visiting Tesla, and seeing the relationship Musk had developed with his employees.

“They believe in Elon Musk,” he said. “That kind of company is marvelous. I felt that as another entrepreneur.”

Although Maezawa said nothing was decided yet on who was going with him on the space travel, he said he wanted to take visual artists, fashion designers and musicians from a variety of backgrounds, including the actress he was dating, Ayame Goriki, “if she proves to be a good match for the mission.”

Maezawa said his company has a twitter policy, and experts go over his tweets in advance. Sometimes he gets emotional on social media, but he is careful not to say anything that might hurt his company, he said.

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Yusaku Maezawa, the chief executive of Zozo, which operates Japan’s popular fashion shopping site Zozotown and is officially called Start Today Co, speaks at an event launching the debut of its formal apparel items, in Tokyo, Japan. VOA

Recently, he took to his twitter and Instagram accounts to lash out at online hecklers, who had ridiculed his halting rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” on an expensive Stradivarius violin he had just purchased.

Maezawa is known for lavish purchases, including artworks by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. But he is equally known for sharing them with the public.

He shrugged off the possible dangers of space, just as he brushed off the risks of tweets and associations with Musk.

“There is no end if you start thinking about that,” he said of the risks.

Maezawa said he has not yet started training for the mission, but he has been getting regular medical checkups and is brushing up on his English.

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Tesla has become the most valuable American carmaker, with its stock worth more than $50 billion. Pixabay

In a nation where people tend to be focused on blending in and getting along, Maezawa has stood out. Forbes magazine estimates his wealth at $2.9 billion.

Maezawa ran an import CD business and played in a rock band before he embarked on his online fashion business with his shopping site Zozotown.

Recently, he has begun making clothes, such as a wearable technology called Zozosuit. The suit, splattered with hundreds of dots, takes body measurements with a software application, ensuring a good fit.

Maezawa said nicely fitting clothes bring smiles and the moon trip’s purpose also is to add to happiness.

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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Dragon spacecraft onboard, launches from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Saturday, June 3, 2017. VOA

The world remembers the first words of the 1969 Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” he said.

Also Read: SpaceX Successfully Lands Falcon 9

Maezawa has a message of his own that he says will be more casual, akin to the lyrics he loved playing in rock bands growing up.

All I want to say is this: Wouldn’t the world be a better place if there is peace?” said Maezawa. (VOA)

Next Story

Self-driving Tesla Cars Coming Soon: Tesla CEO Elon Musk

"Tesla made zero cars in 2011, but will make around 500,000 cars in 2019"

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Tesla CEO Elon musk, board
Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (VOA)

In yet another bold statement, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced that the company’s full self-driving feature will be completed by the end of this year.

By the end of 2020, the electric car maker’s self-driving feature will be so capable that one can even snooze in the driver seat while the car takes the person to the desired destination, the Wired quoted Musk as saying on Wednesday.

“I think we will be ‘feature complete’ on full self-driving this year, meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up, take you all the way to your destination without an intervention this year,” Musk said during a podcast interview.

“I am certain of that. That is not a question mark.”

Musk’s revised timeline could be great news for Tesla buyers who have been waiting for the driverless feature for years.

Tesla said that every car produced since October 2016 has all the hardware needed to drive itself.

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Visitors inspect Tesla electric cars at Brussels Motor Show, Belgium, Jan. 18, 2019. VOA

Between October 2016 and October 2018, customers could even pay an extra $3,000 or so for a “full self-driving” feature, which Tesla promised they would eventually be able to unlock via a software update.

In January 2017, Musk said elements of that feature would start rolling out in three to six months. However, that did not happen.

In the podcast interview, Musk cautioned that it will take the company another year to get to the point where its cars can completely drive themselves.

“People sometimes will extrapolate (“feature complete”) to mean now (full self-driving) works with 100 per cent certainty, requiring no observation, perfectly. This is not the case,” he was quoted as saying.

Musk said that Tesla drivers would be able to fall asleep and wake up at their destinations using full self-drive by the end of 2020.

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SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk, left, announces Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa (R) as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon. VOA

Until then, drivers will have to continue to monitor the technology and be ready to take control of the wheel if something goes wrong, the report said.

In another tweet, Musk said that Tesla made zero cars in 2011 but will produce 10,000 cars per week in 2019.

Also Read- YouTube Renews Strike Rules, Intensifies Punitive Action

“Tesla made zero cars in 2011, but will make around 500,000 cars in 2019”.

“Meant to say annualised production rate at end of 2019 probably around 500k, ie 10k cars/week. Deliveries for year still estimated to be about 400k,” he tweeted. (IANS)