Japan’s capital gets a boost in this year’s global rankings for a very 2020 reason.

New York-based financial publication Global Finance publishes an annual list of the world’s best cities to live in. For 2020, Asia has had a strong showing, with three cities in the top 10 and the top spot going to none other than Tokyo.

Tokyo was followed by London, Singapore, and New York in the top four, with Seoul in eighth place, Hong Kong in 11th, and Japan’s Osaka and Fukuoka in 18th and 34th place, respectively.

While Japanese cities generally don’t do especially poorly in such rankings, they usually don’t rise to the very top either, often because of their high cost of living and perceived barriers to educational and societal integration, at least in the eyes of those coming from a Western background. Global Finance itself acknowledges that this year’s rankings are in some ways an anomaly, due in no small part to one very-2020 criteria which was applied.

Cities were judged on eight metrics: economic strength, research and development, cultural interaction, livability, environment, accessibility, GDP per capita, and COVID-19 deaths per million people in the country. Not only is the last area one that was almost entirely absent from most people’s concerns just a year ago, for the 2020 rankings Global Finance says “we weighted the Covid-19 deaths metric by a factor of three in order to underline how a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic affected which cities would be best to live in.”

So while Global Finance says that Tokyo merely had “overall relatively good scores in most metrics,” the extra emphasis on coronavirus health conditions helped propel it to the top of rankings, since Japan has had remarkably few COVID-19 deaths for a country with such a large population. Conversely, the high death toll during the pandemic in the U.K. and U.S. brought down London and New York’s total scores significantly.

Of course, the key criteria in Tokyo’s number-one ranking is something that could become largely irrelevant as soon as a reliable vaccine is developed and distributed, at which point Japan’s capital would likely slide down several spots on Global Finance’s list (though Tokyo residents’ ability to boast of living in the world’s safest city and also the same town as SoraNews24 headquarters would remain in play). Taken as a list of the world’s best cities to live in specifically in 2020, though, Tokyo is hard to argue against, considering that it’s managed to keep infection numbers low even without having to enact lifestyle-derailing lockdown orders.

Source: Global Finance via Livedoor News/Career Connection News via Otakomu
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