Located almost in the center of the Japanese archipelago, Tokyo is 2,187 km2 in area, the third smallest among Japan's 47 prefectures, but the capital is home to some 13 million people, making it the country's most populous prefecture and one of the largest cities in the world. A major natural feature of Tokyo is its diversity in terrain despite its small area, with many uphills and downhills ranging from lowland less than 4 meters above sea level to mountainous land as high as 2,000 meters, and volcanic islands such as the Izu Island chain as well as the Ogasawara Islands dotting the Pacific Ocean and belonging to Tokyo's administrative jurisdiction.
It takes about 40 minutes by train to reach the center of Tokyo from Narita International Airport, about 60 km away. A new runway has been constructed at Haneda Airport close to the center of the metropolis, paving the way for the inauguration of new international scheduled flights from late October 2010 and making access to Tokyo even more convenient.
Inhabited by some 13 million residents or about 10% of Japan's population, Tokyo is the country's economic hub, accounting for 92.3 trillion yen in industrial production, the largest output of all prefectures.
A variety of industries thrive in Tokyo. In the commerce sector, annual sales reach 182.2 trillion yen or 33.2% of the national total. Services output account for 22.8%. In the manufacturing sector, various goods ranging from high-tech products to traditional craftwork are being produced.
Of companies capitalized at 1 billion yen or more, 48.7% are located in Tokyo. Various other functions are concentrated in the capital, including banking in which it accounts for more than 40% of outstanding loans extended by domestic commercial banks.
Tokyo is also a foothold for globalization, with about three quarters of foreign firms operating in Japan headquartered in the metropolis.
The history of Tokyo, the capital city, is fairly long. It began to prosper when Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the feudal shogunate administration, established the seat of government in this place in 1603. Tokyo, known as Edo then, became a megalopolis populated by more than one million by around the 18th century. Up to day since then, Tokyo has been the center of activities in Japan in various fields, including politics, the economy and culture, as well as the hub of information transmission.
Culture brings affluence and pleasure to daily lives of people and, at the same time, represents a source of the city's allure and vitality. Tokyo boasts an accumulation of cultural assets taking over historical traditions since the Edo period (1603-1867). The city also gathers many people committed to cultural creation, daily producing new culture ranging from traditional performing arts to media art that encompasses artwork created with new media technology such as computer graphics.
Tokyo also has various districts that have developed to become mature, unique areas with cultural attractions. They include Ueno Park (embracing an array of cultural facilities), the Kanda/Jinbocho streets (bristling with secondhand bookstores), Ginza (boasting scores of privately run galleries), Roppongi (featuring an accumulation of new art museums), Shimokitazawa (accented by a host of small theaters) and Tachikawa (known for many works of public art).
As Japan's capital, Tokyo is engaged in active city-to-city diplomacy on its own. In 2001, a network comprising large Asian cities was inaugurated at the initiative of Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara. The group, known as the Asian Network of Major Cities 21 (ANMC21), is designed to undertake joint projects for common tasks for the prosperity and development of the Asian region by boosting the importance of the region in the international community through stronger partnership among Asian capitals and major cities. The ANMC21 held an inaugural meeting in Tokyo in October 2001. It has since held a meeting once a year in principle to promote joint undertakings and improve the network.
The current members are the following 11 cities: Bangkok, Delhi, Hanoi, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo and Yangon.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is scheduled to host a general meeting of the ANMC21 from Nov. 8 to 10, 2010. The meeting will gather mayors and other delegates to exchange views on pressing issues such as reduction in environmental burdens and industrial development. It will be the first meeting in Tokyo since the inaugural session in 2001.
Tokyo will also hold a variety of events introducing the allure of Asia in a move timed with the meeting, characterizing the October-November period as a "Tokyo-Asian Month." The events will feature a full range of Asian attractions that can be enjoyed by both children and adults. For details, please visit: http://www.anmc21.org/asianmonth/
(Information on this page was offered from Tokyo.)