Nobel laureate Yunus seeks to tackle poverty, unemployment in Japan

By HISASHI NAITO/ Staff Writer
Published on: July 28, 2013

OSAKA--Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, credited with helping millions of impoverished Bangladeshis through microfinance, is turning his attention to Japan, unveiling plans to establish funds that will invest in small ventures tackling poverty, unemployment and other social issues.

Yunus, 73, told The Asahi Shimbun in an interview here on July 27 that he wants to help small businesses, retirees and young people tackling those challenges by organizing funds to assist their efforts in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka and other major cities.

He said he intends to raise the funding from the affluent, who are willing donors to nonprofit groups and to social causes.

The Bangladeshi economist was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for helping the impoverished escape poverty by providing no-collateral loans in small amounts through the Grameen Bank, which he founded in Bangladesh.

Yunus is a proponent of “social business,” a business model that reinvests all profits back into the company, instead of paying dividends to shareholders, to combat unemployment and other societal problems.

He said the social business model will take two to three years to spread among societies because it is a new vision.

Yunus was attending the Social Business Forum Asia in Osaka on July 27. tellyseries