Tokyo unveils plan for internationalization

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government unveiled on May 29 its policy guidelines on the internationalization of Tokyo over the next decade.

The number of long-term foreign residents is increasing, but the capital is losing its status compared with other major cities in the world, the government’s paper says, citing a poll of Japanese who have lived abroad for more than a year. According to the survey, 57.6 percent of respondents said Tokyo is not particularly important among other Asian cities, and 24.9 percent said Tokyo’s role will decline and its influence will be limited.

Other statistics show that Japan’s financial market is ranked sixth after such places as Singapore, the United States and Hong Kong. The guidelines call for measures to boost Tokyo’s attractiveness, including an infrastructure to lure international conventions and tourists.

They also focus on the increasing number of long-term foreign residents of the city, stressing the importance of steps covering child care, education and medical treatment. International marriages in Tokyo totaled 5,338 in 1994, accounting for 6.4 percent of all marriages in the capital, the paper says. Marriages in which the husband is Japanese and the wife is not accounted for 75 percent of international marriages, with Chinese topping the list, followed by Filipinos. Tokyo has some 260,000 registered foreign residents.