The new Tokyo City Hall complex was completed in 1991, Its two towers rise to 243 and 163 metres respectively. The total floor area amounts to 380,500 square metres.



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City Mayors reports news from towns and cities around the world. Worldwide | Elections | North America | Latin America | Europe | Asia | Africa |


City Mayors ranks the world’s largest, best as well as richest cities and urban areas. It also ranks the cities in individual countries, and provides a list of the capital cities of some 200 sovereign countries. More


City Mayors profiles city leaders from around the world. More


City Mayors describes the history, architecture and politics of the greatest city halls in the world. More


Mayors from The Americas, Europe. Asia, Australia and Africa compete for the World Mayor Award. More


Use
Mayor Monitor to rate the performance of mayors from across the world More


In your opinion: Praise Criticise. Write


City Mayors reports political events, analyses the issues and depicts the main players. More


City Mayors describes and explains the structures and workings of local government in Europe, The Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa. More


City Mayors deals with economic and investment issues affecting towns and cities. More


City Mayors describes and explains financial issues affecting local government. More


City Mayors reports urban environmental developments and examines the challenges faced by cities worldwide. More


City Mayors reports on and discusses urban development issues in developed and developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on developments in urban society and behaviour and reviews relevant research. More


City Mayors invites readers to write about the people in their cities. More


City Mayors examines city brands and marketing. More


City Mayors lists and features urban events, conferences and conventions aimed at urban decision makers and those with an interst in cities worldwide. More



City Mayors deals with urban transport issues in developed and developing countries and features the world’s greatest metro systems. More


City Mayors examines education issues and policies affecting children and adults in urban areas. More


City Mayors investigates health issues affecting urban areas with an emphasis on health in cities in developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on how business developments impact on cities and examines cooperation between cities and the private sector. More


City Mayors examines the contributions history and culture make to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors examines the importance of urban tourism to city economies. More


City Mayors questions those who govern the world’s cities and talks to men and women who contribute to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors profiles national and international organisations representing cities as well as those dealing with urban issues. More


City Mayors reports on major national and international sporting events and their impact on cities. More


City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More


Tokyo City Hall
By Andrew Stevens

9 March 2005: Unlike its metropolitan regional counterpart, the Greater London Authority in England, which has a ‘City Hall’ without being a city, the administrative headquarters of Tokyo Metropolitan Government are simply known as the Metropolitan Buildings.  Which does little justice to the towering edifice which houses the Governor and Metropolitan Assembly, as well as an army of bureaucrats, that dominates the centre of the Japanese capital.  The locations around the buildings were recently made famous in Sophia Coppola’s film Lost in Translation and may be familiar to even those who have not visited the city.

From either of the two main buildings there are views of the Shinjuku district, including the four Shinjuku towers, Shinjuku Station and Shinjuku Central Park.  The complex consists of three main buildings, simply known as Main Buildings Number One and Number Two and the Metropolitan Assembly Building.  Standing at forty eight storeys in height (243m), Number One houses the headquarters of Governor Ishihara and looms over the smaller Metropolitan Assembly Building, which stands at merely seven storeys (41m).  The Assembly Building houses the 127 Assembly Members and their staff.  Number Two stands to the side of these and is the offices of support staff for the organisation.  Visitors are free to take in views of the city from either of the two observatories in Number One, which are open during business hours.

Despite the massive scale of the buildings themselves, work was completed in April 1991 after only three years of construction.  The operations of Tokyo Metropolitan Government then moved to this site as the old City Hall was to be demolished to make way for the Tokyo International Forum convention centre  Designed by Kenzo Tange, one of Japan’s most eminent architects, it is a defined modernist structure that makes use of its angular contours to impose dominance over its surroundings. Tange could be seen as Japan’s equivalent of Britain’s Norman Foster, Brazil’s Oscar Niemeyer or Switzerland’s Herzog and de Meuron, as all have won the Pritzker Prize for their contribution to the physical environment of the world’s capitals.

Japan’s capital since the end of the feudal era in 1868, Tokyo became a symbol of the country’s rapid dash towards Westernisation in the Meiji era between 1868 and 1912. Tokyo Metropolitan Government is one of 47 prefectures in the Japanese local government system. However, as the capital city it has some unusual characteristics for a prefecture as while the city head is the Governor, the patchwork of local authorities beneath the city government is complex as there are 23 wards tasked with minor city administrative duties, as well as an array of municipalities outside of central Tokyo – 26 cities, five towns and eight villages. But it is fair to say that Tokyo Metropolitan Government is the most powerful and influential body operating within its local government system.

The current Governor of Tokyo is Shintaro Ishihara, twice elected as an independent, despite previously serving in the national Liberal Democratic government.  Governor Ishihara’s independent status could be seen as befitting his former vocation as a prize-winning novelist and his profile is definitely at odds with the mainstream of the Japanese political system, which generally prefers time-serving technocrats not blessed with Ishihara’s rather blunt manner. Not afraid of controversy, Ishihara uses the office of Governor on a personal moral and national crusade and frequently attacks his own government’s policy towards neighbouring nations, whom he views as a threat to Japan. The rather imposing presence of the Metropolitan Government complex might be seen to reflect the current Governor’s own personal manner.



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