The report noted that Tokyo (#1) and Osaka (#3) are expected to experience shrinking populations due to low inward migration and low birthrates, a trend that will help maintain the “relative safety and order of such places.”

By Ian Horswill


Posted on September 2, 2019

Using 57 different indicators, The Economist Intelligence Unit has revealed the safest cities to live in as it warned that the number of people living cities is going to soar and be a challenge that some will cope better than others.

Tokyo, the amazing capital of Japan, is the world’s safest city for the third successive year, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Tokyo was ranked first in the digital security category, second in health security and fourth in infrastructure and personal security.

“Given that earthquakes are endemic to Japan and we are also witnessing major climate change around the world, it is utterly critical that Tokyo protects residents and the city from natural disasters,” said Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.

“To do so, we have pursued a range of reforms, both on the infrastructure and the intangible side, expending a large budget. Tokyo’s having received high acclaim as a safe city results in part from the steady and consistent way we have pushed forward these initiatives over the years.”

Tourists and locals visit the 250 metres long Nakamise shopping centre in Asakusa, Tokyo. Tourists and locals visit the 250-metre long Nakamise shopping centre in Asakusa, Tokyo.

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Soaring tourism figures show the attraction of Tokyo. In 2018, Japan welcomed 28.7 million tourists, up from 10.4 million visitors in 2013, and an estimated 51 per cent set foot in Tokyo. The attraction of the city is evident in that the opening match of the Rugby World Cup, which runs from September to November, will be played at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Chōfu, Tokyo. The final would have been at the National Stadium in Kasumigaoka, Shinjuku, Tokyo, but it is being renovated for next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.

The report also noted that Tokyo and Osaka, which was ranked third, are expected to experience shrinking populations due to low inward migration and low birthrates, a trend that will help maintain the “relative safety and order of such places,” while the challenges of urbanisation will intensify in countries with fast-rising populations such as China and India.

The world’s safest cities for 2019, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit:

1. Tokyo, Japan

2. Singapore

3. Osaka, Japan

4. Amsterdam, the Netherlands

5. Sydney, Australia

6. Toronto, Canada

7. Washington DC, US

8. Copenhagen, Denmark, and Seoul, South Korea

9. Melbourne, Australia

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“The research highlights how different types of safety are thoroughly intertwined,” said Naka Kondo, senior editor of The Economist Intelligence Unit and editor of the SCI2019 report.

“Our research points to a number of key elements, including joint planning by all relevant stakeholders, both governmental and non-governmental, to prepare for shocks; a new understanding of infrastructure that uses a city’s natural assets as tools to enhance its ability to absorb shocks; and the importance of promoting social connectedness among citizens in creating communities that will work together in a crisis.”

The biggest city to suffer a fall in the rankings was Hong Kong, which dropped from 9th to 20th position following months of sometimes violent anti-government protests, which has also lead to a decline in visitor numbers.

The report acknowledged that while a city didn’t need to be rich to be on the list, places in developing countries did tend to be lower on the list.

Bottom of the list, at number 60, is Lagos in Nigeria, with a score of 38.1.