Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has cut short his public search for a 'life partner' to accompany him to the moon on the SpaceX Starship rocket.
In a series of tweets on Thursday, Maezawa said that he had pulled out of the matchmaking documentary he planned to make with Japanese video streaming site AbemaTV.
"Despite my genuine and honest determination toward the show, there was a part of me that still had mixed feelings about my participation," he said on Twitter.
He said to the 27,722 women that had so far entered the contest "with earnest intentions and courage" using their "precious time" to apply, that he felt "extremely remorseful…(to) inform everyone of this selfish decision of mine."
The billionaire also apologized to the staff at AbemaTV who were involved in production of the documentary, adding that he was "truly sorry from the bottom of my heart."
The founder of Japan's largest fashion retail website, Zozotown, launched his search for a partner earlier this month, tweeting a link to a website where women aged 20 or over could enter.
The "serious matchmaking documentary" was to be named "Full Moon Lovers" and Maezawa was due to make his final selection on a partner at the end of March.
The retail mogul planned for the chosen applicant to accompany him on the SpaceX rocket voyage around the moon in 2023, having been chosen back in 2018 by CEO Elon Musk to be its first civilian passenger.
Maezawa did not say whether this changed his plans to travel to space at all.
The billionaire also launched a competition on January 1, giving away 1 billion Japanese yen ($9.1 million) to 1,000 people who followed him and retweeted his message on Twitter, closing on January 7.
This was second time Maezawa had conducted a giveaway over Twitter. People were able to check if they were winners by inputting their name into separate website and received a direct message from Maezawa on Twitter.
Soon after this he launched another smaller giveaway offering an extra 1 million Japanese yen to another 20 people. Winners of this competition are due to be announced on Friday 31 January via a live broadcast.