The GRP of Tokyo alone accounts for approximately 19% of Japan’s GDP. Taking into account the greater metropolitan area (total GRP for Tokyo and Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba Prefectures), this figure rises to approximately 34%, clearly illustrating the central role that the Tokyo region plays in business and R&D.
The head offices of many Japanese companies are located in Tokyo, including the headquarters of 41 corporations listed in the Fortune Global 500 (2014).
The finance industry is particularly prominent in the city, which is home to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (the exchange with the highest market capitalization in Asia) and the head offices of many Japanese banks, securities companies and insurance companies, as well as offices of numerous foreign financial institutions.
Tokyo is also the preeminent center in Japan for ICT industries, including information services and media.
In terms of both scale and quality, Tokyo has an impressive array of universities and institutes conducting research at the highest levels in Asia across a wide range of fields. These include the University of Tokyo and the Tokyo Institute of Technology, which specializes in engineering.
In the aim of becoming the world’s most business-friendly city, in recent years Tokyo has strived to attract the Asian headquarters of global corporations and undertake urban development projects that will meet the needs of foreign business people working in such companies.
Medicine: Drug Discovery and Life Sciences
The area around Tokyo Station, a key business center, has a high concentration of medical firms, especially high-added-value drug discovery companies.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) is working to develop a hub for drug discovery and other life sciences activities around Tokyo Station, gather human resources and information in this area, and promote the identification, selection and commercialization of basic research outcomes (research seeds).
TMG is also facilitating the creation and growth of venture companies in the life sciences field by securing space for start-ups utilizing private-sector incubation facilities and providing assistance for PR efforts such as participation in exhibitions.
Finance: Tokyo International Financial Center Concept
In the aim of developing Tokyo into an international financial center rivalling New York or London, TMG is energizing forums for the exchange of information between investors and businesses, and working to attract and organize conferences gathering players in the global finance industry.
To realize this international financial center concept, TMG is (a) creating a business-friendly environment for overseas companies, (b) devising mechanisms to attract domestic and international funds, (c) encouraging expansion from savings into other financial products, and (d) promoting human resource development. In conjunction with these four initiatives, TMG plans to ease regulations and introduce tax incentives by 2020.
Energy: Towards a Hydrogen Society
TMG is taking the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics as an opportunity to aim for the rapid realization of a hydrogen society, for example by utilizing hydrogen energy in the athletes’ village.
TMG also plans to subsidize expenses associated with introducing fuel cell vehicles and building and operating hydrogen fuelling stations. It has set targets for Tokyo of 6,000 fuel cell vehicles by 2020 and 100,000 by 2025, and 35 hydrogen fuelling stations by 2020 and 80 by 2025.
Tokyo has high concentrations of SMEs with advanced technical capabilities, especially in the central city, the coastal engineering zone, and the west of the city.
In recent years SMEs have moved in new directions, including joint research projects with universities and other institutes, and development of overseas sales channels.
Several Tokyo SMEs have unique technologies and products that make them global niche top players with the largest share of the global market in their fields. Such companies help to underpin Tokyo’s international competitiveness.