Foreign Affairs Office of Beijing Municipal Government
2022-02-22  |  

[Overview] Tokyo Metropolis is the capital and largest city of Japan, as well as the political, economic, cultural, educational and transportation center of the country. Located in the middle of the Japanese archipelago, Tokyo covers an area of 2,188 square kilometers and has a population of 13.95 million. It consists of a mainland portion, as well as the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands on the Pacific Ocean, with the Sumida River and Arakawa River running through the city proper.

[Politics] Tokyo Metropolis is governed by the metropolitan assembly and the metropolitan government. The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly is made up of 127 members directly elected by Tokyo citizens to serve a term of four years. It has the authority to enact, amend, and repeal metropolitan ordinances, approve the budget and certify its settlement. The consent of the Assembly must be sought for important appointments, nominations, and other designations made by the governor such as those of a vice governor or administrative commission member. The Metropolitan Government has seven commissions, including the Personnel Commission, the Public Safety Commission, the Board of Education, etc., and 22 bureaus, including the Bureau of General Affairs, Bureau of Urban Development, Bureau of Social Welfare and Public Health, Bureau of Citizens and Cultural Affairs, etc. There is one governor and four vice governors in the government. The governor is directly elected by the citizens and has a four-year term of office. The incumbent Governor Yuriko Koike took office in July 2016.

[Economy] As Japan's economic center, Tokyo Metropolis has a highly developed service sector and major industries such as precision machinery, auto-making, electronics, the chemical industry, electrical machinery, metallurgy, shipbuilding, foodstuff, publishing and printing. Tokyo hosts the headquarters of many large Japanese and foreign enterprises and banks, while small and medium-sized enterprises also play an important role in the local economy, accounting for over 90% of all enterprises in the city.

[Transportation] Tokyo Metropolis boasts highly developed sea, land and air transportation networks, as well as an intra-city transportation network centered on rail transit, which carries over 85% of all passengers of the entire urban traffic system.

[Culture and Education] As Japan's educational and cultural center, Tokyo Metropolis is home to one third of the country's universities, over half of its college students, 80% of publishing houses, as well as lots of museums, art galleries and libraries. As an international metropolis, the city often hosts international cultural events of various types, including the Tokyo Music Festival and Tokyo International Film Festival.

[Building of sub-centers and the National Capital Region] Tokyo started to build its sub-centers in 1960 and has built seven of them so far. To relieve the pressure of the city and promote coordinated development of a larger region, the National Capital Region has taken shape after over half a century of planning and governance efforts. This region covers Tokyo Metropolis and seven the prefectures of Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa, Ibaragi, Tochigi, Gunma and Yamanashi.

[Relations with Beijing] On March 14, 1979, Tokyo Metropolis officially became Beijing's first sister city. The two sides have had close interactions and fruitful cooperation since then and former Chinese Premier Li Peng once hailed this as an excellent model of sister cities.

In the 1980s, exchanges and cooperation with Tokyo Metropolis supported Beijing's economic and social development as well as its opening-up in the early stage. The food sanitation inspection vehicles, municipal sanitation vehicles and fire engines provided by Tokyo Metropolis served as great references for Beijing's independent R&D of similar special-purpose vehicles. It was with the help of Tokyo Fire Department that Beijing established its first firefighter training school. Beijing also introduced a range of technologies from Tokyo, including construction plastering technology, anti-mildew technology for soy sauce, production stability technology for key camera components, measurement of iodine contained in food, and testing of aflatoxin.

Over the past 40 years, Beijing and Tokyo Metropolis have had exchanges in all aspects, on multiple levels, and in a wide variety of fields, carrying out a total of 24 cooperation projects centering on the construction of the capital region, refined city management, air pollution prevention and control, and many other topics. In 2019, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the formation of the sister-city relationship between the two cities, leaders of the two sides paid mutual visits and signed a memorandum for communication and cooperation in Beijing, aiming at pragmatic cooperation in scientific and technological innovation, urban planning, education, sports, and old-age care. In Tokyo, there was also a series of activities to mark the occasion, including the Night of Beijing art show, Beijing Week and Exhibition in Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Formation of Sister-City Relationship between Beijing and Tokyo. These events presented Beijing to Tokyo residents in an all-round manner and from different perspective, contributing to the exchanges and cooperation between the two sides in all aspects.