Tokyo aims to be Asia's financial hub again

TOKYO • Japan's capital aims to wrestle back its status as Asia's financial hub from Singapore by 2020, said Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe (left) yesterday.

"Asia's mecca isn't Singapore, but Tokyo," he said at a seminar hosted by Bloomberg. "Tokyo is far more dynamic and attractive."

Mr Masuzoe sees the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as "the best and last opportunity" for Japan's revival. Two decades of deflation sapped Japan's economic vitality and Tokyo lost much of its financial talent, Mr Masuzoe said, adding: "We want to recruit financial professionals from abroad, including Wall Street. We can't nurture talent immediately within Japan."

Speaking at the same Tokyo event, Mr Shigeru Ishiba, the minister of regional revitalisation, said the city's long-term prosperity hinges on the provinces, which historically supplied the capital with young migrants.

Mr Ishiba is tasked with easing a decline in Japan's population, which peaked in 2008 at about 128 million. He said Japan is aiming to keep the figure above 100 million through 2060.

Over the shorter term, the government aims to create 300,000 jobs in regional areas for young people and to stop a net population inflow into Tokyo by 2020, according to a plan released in December.

"It's not that regions don't have jobs. There's more than one job opening for every application," Mr Ishiba said. "But we need to boost the number of stable and high-paying jobs."

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2015, with the headline 'Tokyo aims to be Asia's financial hub again'. Print Edition | Subscribe