Visitors to the new Toshima Ward Office in Tokyo may wonder why it's housed in a super high-rise when it opens Thursday.

In fact, the ward office only occupies the first nine floors of the 49-story skyscraper. Residential dwellings account for the rest. It's the first time in Japan that a municipal office and residential apartments have shared the same building.

In addition, Toshima Ward was able to construct the new building without earmarking new spending from its general budget account, thanks to efforts to offset outlays by leasing the land for the old main office to the private sector.