Tokyo, the largest city in the world and the only mega-city in a developed economy, expanded dramatically after the Second World War. Over 40% of the city is built on landfill encroaching on Tokyo Bay to accommodate this growth. However, given Japan’s low demographic dynamism and the policies to curb Tokyo’s growth, the city will grow at a relatively modest pace. Like many other cities in Japan, Tokyo is prone to earthquakes and flooding. Home to a relatively wealthy and homogenous population, the city is composed of narrow building plots, closely-packed commercial districts, such as Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ginza or the new centre at Roppongi Hills. The Greater Tokyo area in the Kanto region now accommodates over 34 million people in a consistently dense and multi-centred urban region that is well served by an integrated system of trains, underground and buses, used by nearly 80% of daily commuters.

Despite its scale and complexity Tokyo provides a highly efficient urban model and is now seeking to make more of its assets by creating denser clusters of development near the centre and regenerating its under-used waterfront along Tokyo Bay. The Governor of Tokyo is one of the most powerful figures in the Japanese administration and Tokyo receives more national fiscal resources than it contributes.