Tokyo: Can a city have its own foreign policy?

Tokyo is not just the political capital of Japan. It is home to 13.2 million people - or 10 per cent of the country’s population - and as many as 32 million people if you include the surrounding area.

The World Today Updated 5 January 2021 Published 16 February 2015 3 minute READ

Akio Miyajima

Accounting for 20 per cent of Japan’s gross domestic product, it is the 14th largest economy in the world, ranked between Spain and Mexico. Not surprisingly, Tokyo governors can have a huge impact on the domestic political agenda, with the capacity to mobilize sentiment and to influence national foreign policy as well.

Since the 1960s Tokyo has developed a network of twinning relationships with other cities. Since the beginning of the century it has promoted multilateral cooperation to address issues affecting Asian cities, such as contagious diseases, waste disposal management, environment and pollution control, natural disaster prevention and crisis management.

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