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Tokyo - Essay Example

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The paper focuses on tracing the development of Tokyo and the timeline of emerging as a global city within its national context and history. The position of a city in any hierarchy of world importance is not a static phenomenon. This paper takes the example of Tokyo and explores its interaction with the dramatic economic and political events in Japan over the past 20 years. …
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Download file to see previous pages It described the future of Tokyo by predicting that Tokyo will make further strides as a big city with a population of over 12 million, a lively city characterized by mutual contacts and support for transcending generations, a comfortable city with a combination of abundant greenery and charming waterfront, and a city which will maintain a balance between residence and work place while functioning both as a domestic and international information junction and as a major base for the international economy. This is the very image of Tokyo as an attractive international city-that is, a world city-which will lead the world both in name and reality (TMG, 1987, p. 50).
When examining the nature of urban policy and planning, it is impossible to ignore the context of global economic change. Many of these policies are formulated as a response to global economic pressures. The priority of urban policy in many cities is to attract inward investment and increase economic competitiveness in relation to other world cities, or similar cities in their region (Short and Kim, 214-235)-although the manner in which this is pursued can vary according to local circumstances (Hall and Hubbard, 85-99). Often these entrepreneurial approaches are adopted to stimulate revitalization after the loss of earlier economic vitality. Thus, as a hypothesis, it is reasonable to ask whether such an entrepreneurial policy emphasis has developed in Tokyo in the context of the Japanese economic crisis.
Although Tokyo is nearly always bracketed with London and New York as the top three world cities, there is considerable debate over the degree of similarity between them. One criticism of the global city debate is its Anglo-American ethnocentrism and its tendency to "exaggerate...
Although Tokyo is widely regarded as one of the top three ‘world cities’, the argument is supported that it retained many national characteristics, partly based on its location in a ‘developmental state’. As national fortunes have changed, so has Tokyo’s relationship with its global environment. Twenty years ago Japan was experiencing economic boom and this was reflected in dramatic development projects in Tokyo. The concept of ‘world city’ was used at this time to legitimize such development. The 1990s were viewed in Japan as ‘the lost decade’ with great uncertainty over policy direction as the boom collapsed and urban policy in Tokyo entered a phase of inertia. It is argued that the city is now entering a third phase in which a new competitive attitude is emerging regarding the role of Tokyo and this is leading to changes in strategic urban policy. However, this new approach is still embedded in old structures and conceptions and hence there are tensions in developing future policy.
Attitudes to the role of Tokyo have been changing in national government. After a period in which the concept of world city was unfashionable, the national administration of Hashimoto announced the Japanese version of the Big Bang policy in 2003. This proposed that Tokyo should be revived as one of the world’s economic centers and be made into a free, fair and global financial market. This was the context for the election for Governor of Tokyo in 1999, which was won by Ishihara. His election manifesto was based on the idea that national recovery should start in Tokyo. He presented himself as a strong political leader who could stop the decline of both Tokyo and Japan. His dynamic approach, in which he proposed to revitalize Tokyo again as Japan’s leading city and an important world player, contrasted with the sluggish approach under Hiroshima. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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