Yusaku Maezawa: Japanese billionaire cancels search for moon trip 'life partner'

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Mr Maezawa still plans to make the trip to space in 2023 - without a partner

A Japanese billionaire who was looking for a female "life partner" to accompany him on Space X's maiden tourist flight round the moon has cancelled his plans.

Fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa invited single women over the age of 20 to apply for a "match-making event".

Almost 28,000 applied, but on Thursday he said he was experiencing "mixed feelings" and pulled out of the search.

He still plans to make the trip to space in 2023 - without a partner.

In January, the 44-year-old advertised online for women to accompany him to space.

The website featured a list of conditions and criteria, including: they had to be single; over the age of 20; and with an interest in going to space.

Just one woman would be picked, with the process supposed to be turned into a matchmaking documentary called "Full Moon Lovers".

But on Thursday, he announced on Twitter that he would no longer be looking for a space companion.

"There was a part of me that still had mixed feelings about my participation," he said in a series of tweets.

"To think that 27,722 women with earnest intentions and courage had used their precious time to apply makes me feel extremely remorseful to conclude and inform everyone [of] this selfish decision of mine."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The fashion mogul is known to have recently split up from 27-year-old actress Ayame Goriki.

This is not the first time Mr Maezawa, the founder and former CEO of online fashion retailer Zozo, has embarked on an attention-grabbing stunt.

He previously promised to share 100m yen ($925,000; £725,000) between 100 randomly selected people who shared one of his tweets.

"To participate, all you have to do is follow me and RT this tweet," he said.

It became the most re-tweeted post ever. He reportedly informed the winners in January last year.

Media caption,
WATCH: 'Why I've bought a ticket to fly to the Moon'

In 2018, Mr Maezawa was named as the first private passenger due to be flown around the moon by SpaceX, the company owned by Elon Musk.

The price Mr Maezawa agreed to pay for his ticket to space has not been disclosed, but according to Mr Musk it was "a lot of money".

Planned for 2023, the mission would be the first lunar journey by humans since 1972.