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WeWork files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy: The impact on SoftBank and future operations in Japan

It has been revealed that WeWork, a major shared office provider in the United States in which SoftBank Group is invested, has fallen into financial difficulty and has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy under US Federal Bankruptcy Law. This law is equivalent to the Civil Rehabilitation Law in Japan and refers to procedures for companies in financial trouble aiming for recovery.

WeWork’s bankruptcy is due to changes in work style caused by the spread of the coronavirus, resulting in a decrease in demand for office use. In particular, WeWork’s main business is providing shared office space, and the decline in demand has put pressure on its management.

This bankruptcy filing could potentially have a significant impact on some venture capital companies. SoftBank Group, in particular, is a major investor in WeWork, and its poor performance and bankruptcy will likely have an effect.

However, WeWork in Japan is not subject to this bankruptcy filing, and it has been announced that its operations will continue in Japan. While no specific management improvement measures or future policies have been disclosed, it is projected that transitions towards business continuity will be made.

This situation could be seen as an emblematic event reflecting the challenges of the shared office business amidst the prolonged effects of the new coronavirus. The spread of remote work is changing the format of traditional office work, and how to adapt business models to this change will be a challenge in the future.


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