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Tokyo ranked third after London and New York in an annual Global Power City Index report released Wednesday, retaining the position for the sixth consecutive year thanks to greater work flexibility amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The top five cities remained unchanged in the latest report, compiled by the Mori Memorial Foundation’s Institute for Urban Strategies, but the pandemic had a significant impact on some indicators, such as tourism and working styles.

London finished in the top spot for the tenth straight year, while Paris and Singapore rounded out the top five in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Osaka, meanwhile, slid to 36th from 33rd last year due to a steep drop in the number of air passengers arriving in the city, particularly at Kansai Airport. Fukuoka inched up to 42nd from 43rd place.

The Global Power City Index examines the overall strength of 48 major global cities to attract people, money and businesses by examining six major areas — economy, research and development, cultural interaction, livability, environment and accessibility — using 70 indicators.

Despite coming first, London’s score for accessibility, which was the highest last year, fell to third because of travel restrictions. The economic fallout of the pandemic also dragged down its economy score.

Tokyo, which improved its overall scores, boosted its position to second from 41st last year for working style flexibility, as the pandemic prompted a raft of companies to introduce telework and make working hours more flexible.

Due to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the capital also increased its score for the number of cultural events it hosted.

Tokyo made the top 10 in five of the six major areas, only missing out on environment — where it finished 17th.

Hiroo Ichikawa, a professor emeritus at Meiji University and one of the committee members who oversaw the report, said that even though the pandemic has helped lift Tokyo’s scores, the city still has areas of weakness, such as slow progress on economic growth and women’s empowerment.

“Many cities are expected to roll out a variety of things (to improve their competitiveness) in the post-pandemic era. Tokyo should not be left behind,” Ichikawa said.

Once the pandemic subsides worldwide, people will be eager to travel and spend money, so “it will be a competition of which cities will be ready to accept them,” said Ichikawa, adding that Tokyo needs to think about areas in which to improve.

Tokyo had been ranked fourth from 2008 to 2015, but inched up to third in 2016 — by overtaking Paris — where it has remained since, trailing only New York and London.

Further down the list this year, Madrid rose to ninth from 13th last year, with the Spanish capital also improving its scores due to flexibile working styles. Hong Kong dropped from the top 10 for the first time in eight years due to a decline in the number of international travelers, ranking in 13th place.

The Global Power City Index was launched in 2008 to gauge the comprehensive competitiveness of major global cities. The committee of various experts headed by Heizo Takenaka, professor emeritus at Keio University, oversees the rankings.

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