Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
Takafumi Sato, commisioner of Japan’s financial regulator, makes no bones about the government’s desire for Tokyo to be the No. 1 financial centre in Asia, and he rattled off a variety of reasons why foreign investors and professionals ought to set up shop here. Among them: the world’s second largest economy, democracy and the rule of law, great restaurants, abundant household assets needing management, low crime, great public transportation, four beautiful seasons.
“Now is an excellent time for Japan to close the gap with other global markets,” Sato told the Reuters Japan Investment Summit in touting the Financial Service Agency’s “Better Market Initiative.”
But in what could be seen as a dig at rival Hong Kong, one of Sato’s reasons stuck out — “less-polluted air.”
According to Mercer’s 2008 survey on quality of living worldwide, Tokyo did top Hong Kong with a ranking of 35 compared to 70. In “health and sanitiation,” Tokyo was far ahead of Hong Kong. But another Asian rival, Singapore, is just ahead in the overall rankings at 32. And even for Japan’s renowned safety (imagine your forgotten iPod being returned to the front desk at the gym), Singapore also bested Tokyo.