The major cities of Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka are embroiled in an escalating competition to attract foreign companies, as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga aims to shape Japan into an international financial hub.

The idea to boost Japan's standing in the financial sector is not new, but China's imposition of a national security law and its tightening on semiautonomous Hong Kong, known as an Asian financial hub, is injecting new momentum into the drive. The three cities have emerged as candidates for financial centers.

Tokyo is stepping up its campaign to draw foreign financial institutions to the capital with a renewed focus on Asia by setting up a liaison office in Hong Kong.