Masaru Wasami started working part time at a vegetable store at age 12, determined to help his ailing mother in her battle with tuberculosis.

Just three years later, he walked away from school and a promising future as a long-distance runner to thrust himself into the business full time.

He started in 1970 with a single truck — a few years later, Maruwa Unyu Kikan Co. had more than 100 of them on the road — and built a produce-delivery behemoth that now handles logistics for drugstore chains and supermarkets across Japan. Today he’s a billionaire, thanks in no small part to Inc., which enlisted his firm in 2017 to manage same-day delivery service in the country.

“I couldn’t sleep,” Wasami said in an interview, recalling the night he came up with the idea for his business.

Earlier that day, he said, he accompanied a friend who was picking up packages from a yarn factory and bristled at the incompetence of some of the workers handling the parcels. Within just a few months, he began delivering produce with his truck.

Wasami, 74, has a keen eye for “winning opportunities,” said Kenji Kanai, an analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute Co., referring to the timing of the deal with Amazon.

His partnership with the world’s biggest online retailer helped turbocharge shares of Maruwa, which have more than doubled this year. Wasami owns almost 60 per cent of the company directly and through his closely held asset-management firm, giving him a net worth of $1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Revenue should continue to grow in the medium- to long-term as Amazon and Tokyo-based Rakuten Inc. look to work more closely with couriers like Maruwa for same-day delivery over more established logistics firms, Kanai said.Read More..