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Tokyo costliest Asian city for expats


Tokyo is the most expensive city in Asia for expatriates, despite a sharply weaker yen, a survey showed Thursday. Beijing was second, jumping up the ranking from fifth place last year.

However, Tokyo was toppled as the world's most expensive city by the Venezuelan capital Caracas, falling globally to 10th place owing to the softer Japanese currency, according to the survey by management consultancy firm ECA International.

"Although the Chinese government has allowed the renminbi to appreciate steadily against the U.S. dollar and food and oil prices in China have been rising, Beijing's jump up the ranking is largely due to Japanese locations becoming so much cheaper because of the weaker yen," said Lee Quane, ECA's regional director for Asia.

The dollar is currently trading at around 102 yen from 80 yen levels last year.

"Nevertheless, living costs in Chinese locations have increased in recent years, making China a more expensive location than some of its neighbors for companies looking to set up operations in the region," Quane added in a statement.

In the current ranking of the 10 costliest cities in Asia, Tokyo and Beijing are followed by Nagoya, Shanghai, Yokohama, Seoul, Osaka, Hong Kong, Singapore and Guangzhou.

Hong Kong overtook Singapore for the first time since 2010 due to the recent weakening of the Singapore dollar. Globally, Singapore is ranked at 30th position, two notches below Hong Kong.

Caracas was named the most expensive city in the world for expatriates owing to a sharp jump in living costs amid economic turmoil in Venezuela, ECA said.

"However, this may be short-lived, as pressure is building on the (Venezuelan) currency, which could well be devalued in the near future," ECA International said.

Caracas is followed in the global ranking by Luanda, Oslo, Juba in South Sudan, Stavanger in Norway, Zurich, Geneva, Bern, Basel and Tokyo.

© (c) 2013 AFP

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Yeah Yeah. They go to each city and perform a set of tasks. One of which is 'take a taxi from the airport to the city center' and record the cost. Tokyo is skewed because Narita is like, 6000 kms from Tokyo. Then they check prices on renting a 2 bedroom apartment within X kms of the city center. So they go to Sunny Real Estate's scammy overpriced 'suitable for westerners' website where a 2 bedroom on Roppongi goes for JPY1,000,000 / month. And VIOLA, most expensive city in the world.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

This survey lost credibility when I saw Nagoya in the list. Nagoya listed higher than Yokohama, Shanghai, and Singapore? By who's standard?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Expensive. But at least it's fun and not boring like Singapoor

2 ( +7 / -5 )

This is one of the most worthless surveys going. Every year it is touted as a guide to the world's most expensive cities but as it states itself doesn't include certain fundamental living costs, and no-one is affected in the slightest by it as it's merely corporations who foot the bill and employees who hardly have much to complain about in their closeted lives apart from the price of melons. Good on JT for clarifying it this time with the headline ".... for expats", not for 99.99999999% of the population.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Worth a bit less it seems here

1 ( +1 / -0 )

i love tokyo but singapore isn't that boring. note also depends heavily on what you eat and how you travels and so on.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I am not an expat and I must say while Tokyo is expensive, it's still much more comfortable and clean than let's say London or Paris.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

These expats are paid everything.... heard this from a contract worker in Ericsson Japan... on the perks that these expats get Salary - 1 million House - 0.5 to 1 million Not to mention the Traveling expenses for 2 to 3 times a year and the Entertainment fee - it seems that these perks get better as you kiss the buttocks of your superior

The biggest JOKE was when a Senior EXPAT manager tried to claim his Yen 290 Nori bento, bringing the receipt to his assistant...

How cheap can these expats be!!!!

How about living a local life, commuting from danchi and going to the local super market like BigYosun!!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

These surveys skewer denser cities like Tokyo, NY, etc. so much as they include measures of things like owning a house with 2 cars, inside the city proper, etc.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

These surveys are useless for "regular" people and tourists.

These polls (as mentioned by another poster) take into account the taxi ride from the AIrport to the city center, which of course, most travelers do not do. So they say it's 30,000 yen to get into the city vs. 1500yen by limited express trains (for example).

They take into account that you might eat steak dinners every night and that your apartment is in Roppongi or Minato-Ku or that you live in a three room house with a huge yard.

These surveys are taken by business people assuming they move to Japan and not adapt to Japanese culture, but instead continue to live their home countrie's lifestyle. One survey, the guy said he spent 100 dollars a week on magazines and 90 dollars on steak dinners....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Still cheaper than Sydney.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I just returned from Sydney last week and everything there is at least 2x ~ 3x cheaper. Breakfast at a cafe for two? 6000 yen. Parking in the city for a day? 9000 yen (and up!). Rent? 50,000 yen / WEEK. Yes, per week. It's absolutely bonkers there at the moment!

The killer in Tokyo (been here 5 years) is the taxes. The Inhabitant's tax is outrageous because of the astronomical cost of maintaing all of the infrastructure that's been put in place since the 60s. Then you've got the even more ridiculous healthcare costs. 11% of your salary! Why? Because we're paying for the ageing population.

And it's only going to get worse for us!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

And with the boost of Abenomics ... the prices just keep climbing higher and higher ...

Thanks to Abe, Tokyo and other Japanese cities will continue to be the most expensive places to live in the world ...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

i thought caracas in venezuela was full of slums. hard to believe a commy country has such high prices, but that's maybe only for dumb foreigners, such as those that ended up reporting that it's the most expensive city in the whole wide world. ridiculous.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Yes, but it's a substantial amount of money for a PUBLIC system. in fact, it's more costly than being in a private system back home! Why should I have to struggle to pay for the elderly? They can use their own damn nest eggs!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I currently live in the world's most expensive country and I'm going expat to Tokyo. I consider Tokyo to be quite "cheap" from what I am used to.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

bakaoyajda: most of the big companies compensate expats to match their home country purchasing power, plus a premium for mobility. I have been living with family in 6 countries on 4 continents in the past 14 years. For instance, let's say I am making USD 100,000.- in my home country, then I have been paid USD 50,000.- in the cheapest country and USD 150,000.- in Tokyo. Then if I have a 200sqm house in a nice neighbourhood in my home country, why would I accept to live in a 50sqm condo in Japan?

I cannot and will not force my family to adapt 100% to the local life as I need to give some cultural roots to my children. A 50:50 balance is our rule: learn and experience local but maintain home style culture and lifestyle. And this 2nd part is very expensive in Tokyo.

I do not know any company offering 2-3 home leave to expats. I am in a very generous one and I get 1 per year so that the whole family can be together for 1-2 weeks every 12 months. This is not easy for children and grandparents, especially when they become old.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Have you been to a clinic / medical centre / hospital recently? What's undeniably obvious in the waiting rooms? Yeah, it's 90% pensioners.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Have you been to a clinic / medical centre / hospital recently? What's undeniably obvious in the waiting rooms? Yeah, it's 90% pensioners.

Yet another immortal who hasn't yet twigged that the older you get, the greater the probability that bits are going to stop working properly.

The problem would be if the waiting rooms were crammed with apparently able-bodied young folk.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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