Half a century ago, the Tokyo Olympics ushered in a golden age for Japan’s capital, as industrial prowess made it the largest urban complex in history. Now the games are returning to mark the end of that growth.Unfortunately, we are seeing similar, if not quite as bad, demographic changes in the Rust Belt and rural Midwest. The future is not bright.
“This will be the final festival,” says Yasunari Ueno, 52, Tokyo-based chief market economist at Mizuho Securities Co.
In Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, the ground has been cleared for a new national stadium, surrounded by a gymnasium, swimming pools, tennis courts and a baseball arena. Elsewhere, transport systems are being upgraded and new roads, apartments and hotels are being built. The whole infrastructure upgrade could cost 2.7 trillion yen ($22 billion) and together with the games create more than 200,000 jobs, according to Mizuho Research Institute Ltd.
Yet, once the 2020 games are over, Tokyo faces a bleak future. It is one of only four cities among the 71 most-populous urban centers ranked by the United Nations that are poised to shrink between 2014 and 2030, and the other three are also in Japan. The Tokyo metropolitan area that includes contiguous cities like Yokohama will see its population drop 1.7 percent to 37.2 million, according to the UN.
By 2030, it will be neck and neck with Delhi in the competition for the world’s biggest metropolis. Last year, it was more than 50 percent bigger than the Indian city. Tokyo also faces challenges from Manila and Jakarta, both of which will have more than 30 million people in their urban areas by 2025, according to forecasts by Belleville, Illinois-based Demographia.
Monday, July 6, 2015
The Power of Demographics
Tokyo is going to host the Olympics just before it loses the title of the world's largest metropolitan area: